Leonard Kress

The Smuggler

After the Polish of Szymon Zimorowic (1608-29)

While sailing by the goddess of love's private
isle, I refused to pay her the homage
she demanded. And so I faced the rage
of her angry son, who took a shot
at me, but snapped his string instead. I knew
that I was free from customs, from import
tariffs, safe, in fact, without having to resort
to smuggling. I hastily dismissed my crew.

O, how could I foresee that one resembling
my love would come, just now, skimming above
the surf, those unbound chestnut braids I love
spread out to catch the wind, flapping and trembling
like a canvas sail. Till Cupid saw her--
and leapt like a dolphin playfully overtaking,
twisted and tied her hair into a bowstring.
He knew just how to sink and how to plunder,

sending volleys to pierce my ship with arrows,
before boarding and seizing my cargo.
Do those back home have any clue, do they know
my sentence was severe, lacking mercy,
that laws are easily broken here and juries
unsympathetic, and Venus herself stands sentry?

Serapion: Polish original by Szymon Zimorowic

EPR #5:

Hipolit: Polish by Szymon Zimorowic
She Handed Me an Orange Before We Danced:

English translation by Leonard Kress


© 2003 Electronic Poetry Review