“Maybe In One Hundred Years”

This 1982 ballad by the band Budka Suflera is considered to be the greatest Polish rock song. Its title “Jolka, Jolka” (Julie, Julie) recalls the speaker’s youthful affair and is based on real events. The themes in the song:

  • The wildness of youth, the fading of feeling with age
  • The bottle
  • Austerity
  • The downside of petit-bourgeois aspirations
  • A foreshadowing of Merkel’s 2015 migrant invasion (sort of)
  • The scale of centuries, glimpsed during a solar eclipse

My English translation is line-by-line with the original so you can sing along. It’s easy, the pronunciation is mostly phonetic.

***

Jolka, Jolka, pamiętasz lato ze snu / Julie, Julie, do you remember that dream-summer
Gdy pisałaś: “tak mi źle  / When you used to write: “I’m miserable
Urwij się choćby zaraz, coś ze mną zrób / Come now, do something with me
Nie zostawiaj tu samej, o nie”  / Don’t leave me here alone, oh no.”

Żebrząc wciąż o benzynę, gnałem przez noc  / Begging for gas money, I raced through the night
Silnik rzęził ostatkiem sił  / The engine groaned with its last bit of strength
Aby być znowu w Tobie, śmiać się i kląć  / To be in you again, to laugh and to swear
Wszystko było tak proste w te dni  / Everything was so simple those days

Dziecko spało za ścianą, czujne jak ptak / The child slept in the other room, alert like a bird
Niechaj Bóg wyprostuje mu sny!  / May God sweeten his dreams!
Powiedziałaś, że nigdy, że nigdy aż tak  / You told me that never, ever since
słodkie były, jak krew Twoje łzy  / Were your tears so sweet like blood

REFRAIN:
Emigrowałem z objęć Twych nad ranem  / I emigrated from your arms by dawn

Dzień mnie wyganiał, nocą znów wracałem  / The day drove me out, by night I came back
Dane nam było, słońca zaćmienie  / Destiny gave us the eclipse of the sun
Następne będzie, może za sto lat  / The next one will happen, maybe in one hundred years

Plażą szły zakonnice, a słońce w dół  / On the beach walked the nuns, the sun going down
Wciąż spadało nie mogąc spaść  / It kept falling, unable to fall
Mąż tam w świecie za funtem, odkładał funt  / Your husband abroad saved every last Pound
Na Toyotę przepiękną, aż strach  / For a Toyota so beautiful, it hurts

Mąż Twój wielbił porządek i pełne szkło  / Your husband loved order and a full glass
Narzeczoną miał kiedyś, jak sen  / He once had a fiancée like a dream
Z autobusem Arabów zdradziła go  / With a bus full of Arabs she betrayed him
Nigdy nie był już sobą, o nie  / He was never himself again, oh no

[Refrain]

W wielkiej żyliśmy wannie i rzadko tak  / We lived in a big tub and so rarely
Wypełzaliśmy na suchy ląd  / Did we crawl onto dry land
Czarodziejka gorzałka tańczyła w nas  / The witch from the bottle danced in us
Meta była o dwa kroki stąd  / The finish-line was two steps away

Nie wiem ciągle dlaczego zaczęło się tak  / I still don’t know why it started that way
Czemu zgasło – też nie wie nikt  / Why it faded – no one knows either
Są wciąż różne koło mnie, nie budzę się sam  / There are many with me, I don’t wake up alone
Ale nic nie jest proste w te dni  / But nothing is simple these days

[Outtro]

Lyrics: Marek Dutkiewicz; music: Romuald Lipko

Open thread.

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Human Suffering And God

The unthinkable recently happened to a high school teammate of mine. You also may have read about the three-year-old Afrikaner girl who was crucified to a kitchen table and raped by blacks. The old question, if God is all-powerful and all-good, how does one account for human suffering? Over at Chateau Heartiste, Greg Eliot explains:

Satan, and then Adam and Eve, basically told God “We don’t need you, we can figure out things for ourselves, and rule ourselves… so don’t tell us what to do!”

Sound familiar.

God says, within reason, “Okay, you asked for it and you got it… good and hard. See how far you get with Satan’s advice.” (Hint: the book of Job is a good microcosm, which you may dismiss as a cruel thing for God to do on a “gentleman’s bet”, but when you are accused of not being able to have your own Creation love you of their own free will, and before the entire assembly of angels and demons, that’s a challenge that can’t go unanswered… remember, Satan already swayed one-third of the angels to go his way.)

So Mankind and Satan’s challenge has and will go on for whatever time is needed to convince all and sundry that God is indeed needed and worthy of the love and devotion of His Creation. But free will, as true free will, does put (for lack of a better word) constraints on what would be considered a fair trial and true justice.

So any cruel indifference (in Man’s eyes) is that of his own doing… like telling a parent to “fuck off!” and then whining afterward about “why didn’t you protect me!”

As in Job, God is going to make-up for all the suffering Satan has administered, and in a big way, so that these earthly travails over the past thousands of years will be like a distant memory of some childhood illness, grievous at the time, but as an adult barely remembered.

Now one may rightfully ask “When, Oh Lord?”, but He has His timeline and His reasons, which we may not always understand or even accept. But when the Judgment comes, it has to be so that no man nor demon nor angel can rightfully say that they didn’t get a square chance to prove they could rule themselves.

Accept this synopsis, which deserves much discussion and further elaboration, or dismiss it… namely, choose this day whom you will serve.

***

The song below was originally recorded in 1985. It all hangs on a thin string, which is why gratitude is the only proper way to relate to life, regardless of your lot. It helps to repeat that.

That’s a woman’s song. The pathos is female. For a man, there is silence in the abyss of his thoughts, and then acting toward redemption. My translation:

Zamiast / Instead of… – Edyta Geppert

Ty, Panie tyle czasu masz / Thou, Lord, you have so much time
mieszkanie w chmurach i błękicie / Up in your home in the clouds and azure
A ja na głowie mnóstwo spraw / While I have so much on my mind
I na to wszystko jedno życie. / And just one life to deal with all of it.

A skoro wszystko lepiej wiesz / But since you know everything better
Bo patrzysz na nas z lotu ptaka / Because you see us from above
To powiedz czemu tak mi jest, / Tell me why
Że czasem tylko siąść i płakać / Sometimes I just want to sit and cry

Ja się nie skarżę na swój los / I don’t complain of my lot
Potulna jestem jak baranek / I am meek like a lamb
I tylko mam nadzieję, że… / And I just hope that…
że chyba wiesz, co robisz, Panie. / That you know what are you doing, Lord.

Ile mam grzechów? któż to wie… / How many sins do I have? who knows …
A do liczenia nie mam głowy / I’m bad at counting
Wszystkie darujesz mi i tak / All of them you will forgive me anyway
Nie jesteś przecież drobiazgowy / Because you are not petty

Lecz czemu mnie do raju bram / But why, to heaven’s gates
Prowadzisz drogą taką krętą / Do you lead me up such a winding road
I czemu wciąż doświadczasz tak / And why do you keep on
Jak gdybyś chciał uczynić świętą. / As though you wanted to make me a saint.

Nie chcę się skarżyć na swój los / I don’t complain of my lot
Nie proszę więcej, niż dać możesz / I do not ask for more than you can give me
I ciągle mam nadzieję, że… / And I still hope that…
Że chyba wiesz, co robisz, Boże. / That you know what you are doing, God.

To życie minie jak zły sen / This life will pass like a bad dream
Jak tragifarsa, komediodramat / Like a tragicomedy, farce and drama
A gdy się zbudzę, westchnę – cóż / And when I awake, I will sigh – well
To wszystko było chyba… zamiast / Perhaps all of it was… instead of

Lecz póki co w zamęcie trwam / But for now I remain in turmoil
Liczę na palcach lata szare / I count the gray years on my fingers
I tylko czasem przemknie myśl / And at moments a thought passes
Przecież nie jestem tu za karę. / That after all, I’m not being punished.

Dziś czuję się, jak mrówka gdy / Today I feel like an ant when
Czyjś but tratuje jej mrowisko / Someone’s boot tramples her anthill.
Czemu mi dałeś wiarę w cud / Why did you give me faith in miracles
A potem odebrałeś wszystko. / And then took everything away.

Nie chcę się skarżyć na swój los / I don’t complain of my lot
Choć wiem, jak będzie jutro rano / Though I can’t vouch for tomorrow morning
Tyle powiedzieć chciałam ci / That’s all I wanted to tell you
Zamiast… pacierza na dobranoc / Instead of… a bedtime prayer

(Lyrics: Magdalena Czapińska. Music: Włodzimierz Korcz.)

The Two Speeches

The value of blogging: you get perspectives in the comments that expand your understanding of a given subject. I had drafted my own commentary on the two speeches months ago. But given the fact that I still wanted to understand more about the place of those two orations in the scheme of modern Western civilization’s trade-off on competing values, I decided to forgo my own analysis, and instead give others an opportunity to read Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Harvard commencement, both featured under the previous two posts.

I never liked the “I Have a Dream” speech. It was never Blues to me. It sounded like a salesman’s pitch. I grew up in Solzhenitsyn’s world. The things that weighed on adults’ minds when I was a kid ranged from frivolous to profound, but Negro histrionics were no part of that reality, save the occasional levity from a disco record. I knew that Negroes exist; I’ve read a lot as a kid, and every boy of my generation had read “In The Desert And Wilderness.” Everybody knew that Africans in their natural state are cannibals, but as Christians we believed that it’s not their fault, that’s how God made them. I thought of them, in the rare instance when the subject would cross my mind, as something that lacks the privilege of our full humanity, therefore it ought to be treated firmly but humanely. You baptize it so that God has mercy on its puny soul. You command it to not be a cannibal. All of that, of course, being purely hypothetical. But the notion of equality with them, had the proposition come up, would have been taken as absurd.

My encounter with America was a culture shock. Not so much when it came to Baseball and Apple Pie — those things I adapted to enthusiastically. What baffled me, though, was that Joseph McCarthy was excoriated in an instructional film played at our school assembly. The Current Year was 1983; why so much vitriol from National Ministry of Education toward an anti-Communist? And then there was Martin Luther King. I’ve seen, now in my several decades in America, a few black faces that shine with honesty and kindness. MKL’s was not one of them. He looked to me like a fat-lipped charlatan.

And from my adult’s present perspective of re-reading the “I Have A Dream” speech, two passages stand out to me as blatantly evil. First, this invocation of Justice. That word appears ten times in the speech:

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice.

Instantly, I contrasted it with Zbigniew Herbert’s eerily similar addressing of Justice that comes up in his poem about disgust, in translation here:

but what hell they made instead
a wet pit the murderers’ alley the barrack
called the palace of justice

(Aside: If you want your thoughts to lead you closer to sunlight, read Herbert). Secondly, MLK’s speech cribs from the Book of Isaiah:

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight

Herbert’s counterpoint about universal equality in his poem about Leftism:

I longed to abolish the difference between what is high and what is low
to humanity disgustingly diverse I longed to give one shape
I ceased not in my efforts to level mankind

Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard address also has a reference to the flattening of humanity:

socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death.

Many historic public addresses are timeless but MLK’s, fifty years later, is an anachronism. Just look around you. How’s that Palace of Justice? All the drama was Deep State’s crafting of a cult of personality to displace America’s founding mythology. You can’t rule out events such as the Birmingham church bombing and the assassination of ML King being false flags to shock the public into complying with the myth of black martyrology for the sake of cracking Whites’ resistance to this AstroTurf redemption-narrative.

And it worked. Somewhat, and solely for one generation because nobody younger than a Boomer cares about “I Have A Dream” or about the actor who delivered that speech. (Much less the millions of newcomers). We comply with its demands under duress. Read the speech now and try to tell yourself that it’s more than cacophony and that liberalism isn’t a hallucination. Then, read Solzhenitsyn’s speech, including this passage:

But as long as we wake up every morning under a peaceful sun, we must lead an everyday life. Yet there is a disaster which is already very much with us. I am referring to the calamity of an autonomous, irreligious humanistic consciousness.

It has made man the measure of all things on earth — imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now paying for the mistakes which were not properly appraised at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility.

Below is rhetoric that comes from a place of Truth, and not from MLK’s swinishness. You as an American be the judge: is what you see and hear clean flowing water like Solzhenitsyn’s words, or is the message distorted by the fiction of civic nationalism?

Idle Thoughts On A Pop Ballad

This will be a bit free-form. The thirty-year-old artist Anna Jantar was survived by her baby daughter who also went on to became a pop singer. From Infogalactic, on the March 14, 1980 airplane crash:

On its final flight, the aircraft was piloted by Captain Paweł Lipowczan and First Officer Tadeusz Łochocki. Flight 007 … from [New York] Kennedy International Airport … was approaching [Warsaw] Okęcie Airport at 11:13 local time. During their final approach, about one minute before the landing, the crew reported to Okęcie Air Traffic Control that the landing gear indicator light was not operating, and that they would go-around and allow the flight engineer to check if it was caused by a burnt-out fuse or light bulb, or if there was actually some problem with the gears deploying…

Nine seconds later, the aircraft suddenly entered a steep dive. At 11:14:35, after 26 seconds of uncontrolled descent, the aircraft clipped a tree with its right wing and impacted the ice-covered moat of a 19th-century military fortress with the speed of about 380 km/h (238 mph) at a 20-degree down angle, 950 meters away from the runway threshold and 100 meters from a residential area.

At the last moment Captain Paweł Lipowczan, using nothing but the plane’s ailerons, managed to avoid hitting a correctional facility for teenagers…

I’m familiar with that correctional facility from childhood visits. I looked it up now, and it looks the same, it’s still a center for teens with drug addiction and criminal problems.

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Continuing with the Infogalactic article about the airplane crash:

Among the 87 fatalities were Polish singer Anna Jantar, American ethnomusicologist Alan P. Merriam, six Polish students returning home from an AIESEC conference in New York and a contingent of the U.S. amateur boxing team. According to the doctors who arrived at the scene, many of the passengers were apparently asleep when the plane hit the ground, but some of them – including many of the boxers – were supposedly aware that they were about to crash, as they held to their seats so strongly that on impact, the muscles and tendons in their arms became severed. Some reports suggested that some of the boxers actually survived the crash and drowned in the moat, but no evidence for this was presented.

On March 14th of this year, the correctional center hosted a memorial service on the anniversary of the 1980 air disaster:

niel5***

Living in Boston in 1999, I occasionally made a Saturday drive to a Polish store in New Britain, Connecticut, where I bought records. I formulated a rule of thumb: buy the CDs that show a plain-looking female artist on the cover — after all, if it’s not the looks that got her the record deal, it must have been the voice.

(That’s not how I rediscovered Anna Jantar, though. What happened, is that I visited Warsaw a few weeks earlier and riding in a taxi to a friend’s apartment, this burst of sunshine from 1974 played on the car’s radio and I asked the driver, “What song is that?”)

In 1977, ABBA gave a concert in Poland. A famous Western band’s appearance behind the Iron Curtain was a big deal. Here is their little-known song “Move On,” with footage from that leg of their tour. The song itself grows on you, and the video even more so when you catch the nuances of Boomers in bloom. Suburban_elk asks:

So they [Boomers] went on canoe trips in the Wilderness and tried to make sense of it, and all they found was hunger. (In their case, that was really all they found. There was not much of a resolution, except that wehn you get hungry enough you will eat just about anything, up to and including, well nevermind.)

The mindspace i am trying to suggest is the Boomers’. Is that still topical or not?

In a way it’s no longer topical. All those concerns that they had — which concerns were Aesthetics — are not the concerns that we have now.

But on the other hand, they are still there and unresolved.

You wonder, should Boomers have remained children — should they all have died before they turned thirty? They were beautiful and unprepared for what hit their world in middle age. For example, Björn Ulvaeus’ son was robbed not too long ago, and that spurred the ABBA veteran to advocate… a cash-free economy. Take Boomers for what they were: they gave us ABBA, the greatest pop music band in history.

And in Sweden… those schoolkids’ future has to be secured but who looks out for them? Sometimes their own parents least of all. Things to see in the “Move On” video linked two paragraphs above:

  • Agnetha Fältskog is a vision. Like just about every young woman, she has those little imperfections that modesty makes irresistible. (0:54)
  • Show time! The fatigue of travel and the stage-fright are forgotten; game-face on. (1:55)
  • Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad accepts flowers from a fan and chats for a moment in the middle of a song. (2:09)
  • Rock stars once tended to their own luggage. (3:00)

I can’t get enough of that “Move On” video. Young Swedes will take their country back once they decide that they’re better-off doing something than nothing. Our brothers across the Baltic Sea are intelligent people with a talent for cooperative action.

On my drive back to Boston, as I played the newly-bought Anna Jantar Greatest Hits double-CD in the car, the next song struck me as one that approaches the ideal form of a female pop ballad. Is it the perfect ballad? I dunno, the French classics are untouchable but no fair, they’re French. This one isn’t in French but its lyrics banish talk, praise the flawed man, are endearingly candid in their grasping for the right words to offer the truth about women, and in all this, she has no idea what she wants.

Nie wierz mi, nie ufaj mi / Don’t believe me, don’t trust me
(Anna Jantar)

Nim coś powiesz, zmilcz / Before you say something, don’t talk
Nim coś powiesz, zważ / Before you say something, reconsider
Bo mówiąc przegrałbyś / Because speaking frankly, you’d lose
A zmilczeć możesz jak poeta / And silent, you’re a poet

Tyle zalet masz / I see so much in you
Tyle zalet masz / I see so much in you
I tyle pięknych wad / And so many beautiful flaws
Cudownych tyle wad / So many wonderful flaws
A jednak / And yet…

Refrain: 
Nie wierz mi, nie ufaj mi / Don’t believe me, don’t trust me
Bo z rąk ci się wywinę / Because I’ll slip out of your hands
Nie jest tak, że w kilka dni / It doesn’t work that way, that in just a few days
Zdobywa się dziewczynę / You win the girl
Nie, nie jest tak / No, that’s not how it goes

Poprowadzisz mnie / You will lead me
Przeprowadzisz mnie / You will guide me
Przez zaufania próg / Over the threshold of trust
Gdzie już byś mieć / Where you can have me
mnie mógł za swoją / As yours

A ja umknę ci / But I will slip away from you
A ja wymknę się / I will sneak away
I ty nie będziesz mógł / And you won’t be able
I ty nie będziesz mógł / And you won’t be able
Mnie pojąć / To know me

[Refrain x2]

Nie wierz mi… / Don’t believe me… [spoken]

(The song was recorded in 1978. Lyrics: Andrzej Bianusz. Music: Antoni Kopff)

That thing I said earlier about modest attire amplifying a cute girl’s attractiveness… this live cover is pretty. Not just because of the song or the teenage girl performing it, but also because of the ethnic integrity of the spectators, without whom there would be no song:

Torture

The video below shows a progression of scenes from the 1981 film “Interrogation,” chronicling the breaking down of a Stalin-era political prisoner. What proves Krystyna Janda a great actress is how she makes the extraordinary familiar. Toward the end of the video her character attempts suicide and it looks real. First, her eyes dart sidelong like a schoolboy passing a note behind the teacher’s back, then those wild-animal teeth flash brightly, then her childlike surprise upon finding herself past the point-of-no-return toward death.

Zbigniew Herber’s “The Interrogation of an Angel” is musically interpreted in that video. The poem is typical of Herbert’s pregnant simplicity; in his own words, he does not create images, he just knocks on doors that open freely for anyone who wants to see.

The poem has strange descriptions. “The eons of his hair” is a literal translation, there is no idiomatic meaning. An “angel” is interrogated, referred to as “he” but he is given feminine qualities, with the long hair up in a bun and the blushing. This doesn’t rule out the possibility that subject of the interrogation is a man and the hint of androgyny is a metaphor for innocence. But on another level, Herbert could be talking literally about angels — which are spirits, they don’t reproduce so they don’t have sexual characteristics. They don’t even have material form, though they can assume human shape to accommodate our senses. So with that interpretation: a real angel is locked in human form, is killed, and then something of metaphysical significance happens.

As to depictions of flesh-and-blood human beings, “The Sopranos” features a scene or two in which a hapless wretch sits wide-eyed on a stool as the stony-faced gangsters stand over him. The fellow who ran afoul of Tony’s crew looks like a worm on a hook. There is a reason why people who survive war captivity don’t want to talk about it: torture is not photogenic. The subject doesn’t look like he’s maxing out a rep like they show in heroic movies, he looks like a crying baby. “Dehumanizing” really does mean that.

Can dehumanization be transcended? Yes, if the prisoner’s belief in his rightness is strong. Few people have the constitution to withstand social disapproval, much less torture. Some do, though. So, where physical endurance gives out, there has to be something else because there are many accounts of defiant martyrdom. There was also a Man who was wrongly accused, mocked and spat-on, flogged, a crown of thorns pushed down on his head…

Przesłuchanie Anioła / The Interrogation of an Angel
(Zbigniew Herbert, 1969) 

Kiedy staje przed nimi / Standing before them
w cieniu podejrzenia / in the shadow of suspicion
jest jeszcze cały / he is still wholly
z materii światła / of light’s substance

eony jego włosów / the eons of his hair
spięte są w pukiel / are pulled in a lock
niewinności / of innocence

po pierwszym pytaniu / after the first question
policzki nabiegają krwią / his cheeks flush red

krew rozprowadzają / the blood is distributed
narzędzia i interrogacja / with tools and interrogation

żelazem trzciną / with iron and cane
wolnym ogniem / with open flame
określa się granice / the body’s limits
jego ciała / are defined

uderzenie w plecy / a strike to the back
utrwala kręgosłup / fixes the spine
między kałużą a obłokiem / between a puddle and a cloud

po kilku nocach / after a few nights
dzieło jest skończone / the work is completed
skórzane gardło anioła / the leathery throat of the angel
pełne jest lepkiej ugody / is full of sticky agreeableness

jakże piękna jest chwila / how beautiful is the moment
gdy pada na kolana / when he falls to his knees
wcielony w winę / guilt incarnate
nasycony treścią / saturated with narrative

język waha się / the tongue hesitates
między wybitymi zębami / between the broken teeth
a wyznaniem / and the confession

wieszają go głową w dół / they hang him head-down

z włosów anioła / from the hair of the angel
ściekają krople wosku / drip drops of wax
tworząc na podłodze / forming on the floor
prostą przepowiednię / a simple prophecy

***

The Mudshark’s Rue

“The Saddest Story Ever Told” is a poem by Olivier Allstrom (1878 – 1963). I wonder if it doesn’t, in places, project male sentiments onto a female who made an irreversible mistake. Mudsharks strike me as too degraded to have these higher feelings. But I could be wrong.

Women who mix sentence themselves to internal exile. I heard of a European girl who married darkly in America and once visited her native country with her kids. A man smirked and told her, “Your parents must be very proud.” Henceforth, she traveled alone.

The poem:

“The Saddest Story Ever Told”

When a white girl marries a negro, her sun of life goes down.
And glaring spots of sin appear on her white wedding gown.
And white and black men stand aghast, while viewing this strange role;
And mutter, “they will wreck themselves, and damn each other’s soul.”

We know a carnivorous bug has crept into her brain
And gnawed away her self-respect, which left her half insane.
Now all her racial pride has flown beyond redemption’s fold
And she begin’s life’s saddest tale that ever yet was told.

Three days and nights she felt black lips press smug against her own,
And on the fourth, her troubled soul, let out a frightful groan.
And so the weeks and months flew by, and then a baby came;
She looked at it with tear filled eyes, and hung her head with shame.

And then she dreamed of other days, sweet, girlhood days gone by,
And of the white friends left behind, and so we hear her cry;
“O, could I turn life’s pendulum backwards a few short years
I would not bear this cross today, nor shed these bitter tears.”

“My baby would be white as snow, and sleep upon my breast
Like a fledgling robin that slumbers in its nest.
While now, O God, my mongrel child just whimpers through the night
Till in my sleepless dreams I scream, not white, O God, not white!”

And so I stagger through my days far from God’s love and grace,
Till now, I know, no black man lives, can take a white man’s place.
My offsprings shall be mongrel bred, their hue-skin shall remain,
For even God with all His power, cannot remove the stain.

I sold my birthright for a mess, I mixed my white-born blood
With black blood, so I languish here like one bogged down in mud.
Though God may grant a pardon, I never can retrace
My footsteps down life’s narrow road, back to the white man’s race.

So now I groan, “It might have been,” had racial pride been mine.
Today I’d hug a pure white child, and call him half divine,
I’d lift him up before the world, and praise his father’s name,
While now, my baby’s mongrel face, reminds me of my shame.

All other crimes may be forgiven when prayer its power fulfills;
The scheming crook may find new hope, and even the man that kills,
But all my prayers can never clear my baby’s mongrel skin,
Nor make him white as driven snow, nor cleanse my soul of sin.

I was my father’s future hope, my mother’s joy and pride,
But I got lost on life’s dark road, and there my spirit died.
I smeared my all-white heritage and left the white man’s track,
Now my descendants for all time shall be forever black.

I try to hide from all the stars, the moon and setting sun;
For all mankind of my white race, condemn what I have done;
I tremble and my teardrops flow, I pray, but pray in vain;
For nevermore shall I be one with my white race again.

And so dark clouds above me roll, deep waters crash below,
I sink, and reap what I have sown, and drink my cup of woe.
My mother sleeps deep in her grave, my dad lies at her side,
For both were crushed when I became a negro’s common bride.

Now, should I decide to leave him, where could I choose to go?
My misspent life will follow me like footprints in the snow.
Before me lie dark jungles where paramours seek a prey;
Behind me death keeps whispering, “I am the only way.”

This black and white, prenuptial mess, this racial suicide;
Must be forbidden by the law, men must find racial pride!
Then, never again, forever, shall tales like mine unfold.
With all its shame and sadness, that ever yet was told.

poem

“A Letter To Che”

I don’t get many of the allusions, but it’s fair to say that the song is about people who blindly follow fashion and revolutionary ideologies. It came out around the time of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, so there is that as well. “A Letter to Che” (orig. List Do Che) by the band Strachy Na Lachy is musically in the style of tango.

***

Celują mi prosto w serce / They’re aiming straight at my heart
Dziś kupców jest dyktatura / Today’s dictatorship of merchants
Oni mierzą do mnie jak do szczura / They aim at me like at a rat 
Tych złotych Czterdzieści i Cztery / Those golden Forty Four
Kod z kresek na parabelce / A code of notches on the pistol
Zwymiotowało moje serce / My heart vomited
Taka dziwna przebija je gwiazda [x2] / Such a strange star pierces it

Refrain:
Hej ty i cała twoja wiara / Hey you and your comrades
Zastyga krew na transparentach / The blood on the banners dries
Ja pamiętam cię tylko ze zdjęcia / I remember you only from a photo
Komendancie Che Guevara / Commandant Che Guevara

Mijałem targ na sygnale / I passed the market on lights and siren
Twarz twoją widziałem wspaniale / Saw your face clearly
Tam gdzie kurwy grzyby i krasnale / Among whores mushrooms and dwarves
Na szklankach i na firankach / And on knick-knacks

Aż tu pewnego poranka / Until one morning
SMS z okolic piekła: / A text message from hell:
“Czerń dzisiaj głodna i wściekła” / “Hungry and vicious is darkness today”
Tak napisała Zetkin Clara / So wrote Clara Zetkin

[Refrain x2]

Roll call of Cuban political prisoners c. 2003:
Raúl Oliverio Castañeda
Alejandro González Raga
Margarito Broche Espinosa
Fabio Prieto Llorente
Osvaldo Acosta

Zawalił się kapitalizm / Capitalism collapsed
Światu but na nodze już się zapalił / The world’s feet are on fire
W Gawroszewie robią bomby w barach / They make bombs in bars
I palą hawańskie cygara / And smoke Havana cigars

[Shabadabada]

Znów modna jest broda Jezusa / The Jesus beard is back in style
Na widokówkach z Nablusa / On postcards from Nablus
I znów odbiera wojsk paradę / And the military parade
Osama Bin Checko-Laden / Is reviewed by Osama Bin Chekho-Laden

A ja gdy z mego snu się zbudzę / And when I awake
Zaraz wam zdradzę to hasło: / I’ll reveal the slogan:
“Nie pozostanę wredną wszą / “I won’t be a wretched louse
W brodzie Fidela Castro” [verse x2] / In Fidel Castro’s beard”

[Latin music]

Ile ty chcesz za te szklankę [x4] / How much do you want for this glass

[Refrain x2]

Ile ty chcesz za te szklankę / How much do you want for this glass