May 21, 2012

The Red Poppies on Monte Cassino

A while ago I 've written a Wikipedia article about one of the most popular Polish World War II-era songs. Working with another Wikipedian (Nihil Novi), we translated the lyrics into English in 2008.

Polish lyrics are by Alfred Schütz (d. 1999). They may still be copyrighted (although they are available on numerous webpages, books, YouTube vidoes, and so on). The translation below is available in few places, and won't be available on Wikipedia due to possible copyright issues. As I felt bad about this work disappearing from our cultural repository, I am sharing it here. It may go down if I ever get a cease-and-desist letter from the Schütz estate... but let's hope it won't happen

(As with most copyrighted works, it is next to impossible to figure out who owns the copyright, and if there is such a thing as"Schütz estate" at all... sigh).

Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino
The Red Poppies on Monte Cassino
In Polish In English
Czy widzisz te gruzy na szczycie? Do you see the rubble at the top?
Tam wróg twój się kryje jak szczur! There, like a rat, lurks your foe!
Musicie, musicie, musicie! You musn't stop, you musn't stop
Za kark wziąć i strącić go z chmur! But from the clouds the enemy throw!
I poszli szaleni, zażarci, And so, onward and upward they went;
I poszli zabijać i mścić, They went to avenge and to kill,
I poszli jak zawsze uparci, On the enemy's destruction, bent;
Jak zawsze za honor się bić. To their honor they harnessed their will.

Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino The red poppies on Monte Cassino
Zamiast rosy piły polską krew... Drank Polish blood instead of dew...
Po tych makach szedł żołnierz i ginął, O'er the poppies the soldiers did go
Lecz od śmierci silniejszy był gniew! 'Mid death, and to their anger stayed true!
Przejdą lata i wieki przeminą, Years will come and ages will go,
Pozostaną ślady dawnych dni!.. Enshrining their strivings and their toil!...
I tylko maki na Monte Cassino And the poppies on Monte Cassino
Czerwieńsze będą, bo z polskiej wzrosną krwi. Will be redder for Poles' blood in their soil.

Runęli przez ogień, straceńcy! The forlorn hope charged through the fire!
Niejeden z nich dostał i padł... More than one was struck and felled...
Jak ci z Samosierry szaleńcy, Yet like the horsemen at Samosierra,
Jak ci spod Rokitny, sprzed lat. They charged with a force unrepelled,
Runęli impetem szalonym Like those at Rokitna years ago.
I doszli. I udał się szturm. And they made it, and carried the day.
I sztandar swój biało-czerwony And they planted their red-and-white flag
Zatknęli na gruzach wśród chmur. In the rubble amid the clouds.

Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino... The red poppies on Monte Cassino...

Czy widzisz ten rząd białych krzyży? Do you see the white crosses in a row?
To Polak z honorem brał ślub. That's where the Poles pledged their all.
Idź naprzód - im dalej, im wyżej, The farther, the higher you go,
Tym więcej ich znajdziesz u stóp. The more you'll find them fall.
Ta ziemia do Polski należy, This soil belongs to Poland,
Choć Polska daleko jest stąd, Though Poland be far from here,
Bo wolność krzyżami się mierzy - For 'tis crosses measure freedom's span —
Historia ten jeden ma błąd. That is history's lesson dear.

Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino... The red poppies on Monte Cassino...

Ćwierc wieku, koledzy, za nami, A quarter-century has passed,
Bitewny ulotnił się pył The dusts of battle no longer rise,
I klasztor białymi murami And the monastery's walls at last
Na nowo do nieba się wzbił... Once again climb, white, to the skies...
Lecz pamięć tych nocy upiornych But memory of those nights terrible
I krwi, co przelała się tu - And of the blood that once flowed here —
Odzywa się w dzwonach klasztornych, Echoes in the monastery bells
Grających poległym do snu...! That toll the fallen to sleep!...

Jan 18, 2012

Titles, good intentions, (unintentional?) censorship, sci-fi, ]oh my.

I initially attempted to post this as a comment to a blog. After two days and numerous attempts, I am giving up. Either the blog owner(s) are censoring my comment, or there is some weird technical snafu.

Response to  World SF 2011 Retrospective Part 1

I appreciate Kaz's and this blog's attempt to cover Polish market, but if you are going to do something, please, do it properly, or don't mislead the reader with a title that suggests a comprehensive overview ("a recap on Poland", "Overview of recent Polish science-fiction"). State your intentions or biases clearly up front in the blog ("this blog entry will cover some recent releases on the Polish market, with the focus on female writers, and with a disclaimer that the author does not read Polish and relies on secondary sources"). Otherwise, one's good intentions may backfire, as shown by the blog comments, where numerous readers comment in similar vain as I. In fact, I came to that blog through a Polish premier sci-fi and fantasy magazine (Nowa Fantastyka), which commented on Facebook about that blogpost, curtly (and roughly translated) as: "a person who knows little of Polish sci-fi and fantasy is writing weird things about it".

As several others have said, if you want to have a good overview of a specific non-English market, get somebody who reads that language. And if you cannot, then pretty please, don't mislead the readers with claims that you'll do something (comprehensive overview) when this is not your intention (and/or ability, due to lack of literacy in a given language).

Overall, I think that it is a great that somebody is trying to provide the English-speakers with some information on the rich happenings in the rest of the world. I hope that the The World SF Blog keeps trying. It is human to err, after all - but those that don't try, at least, will never succeed.

On a sidenote, any overview o Polish 2011 should wait for the results of various 2011 award ceremonies, most notably, the Zajdel Award. Readers interested in the overview of Polish sci-fi and fantasy up to about 2005 may also want to check the Wikipedia article on the subject. This article could use an update for the last few years (hint!).
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