A May Night

Here’s my English translation of a poem by the early twentieth-century Polish poet Bolesław Leśmian. The original title is “Majowa Noc”.

You come like a May night…
White night, a night a-slumber in jasmine…
Jasmine-scented your words take flight…
Moon silvery dreams flowingly spins…

I love you…
I don’t promise you much,
Much as near-nothing,
At most Spring green—such,
as the warm days that it brings,
At most a smile on your face,
And a hand in need,
So it’s not a lot, you see,
Because I promise you only me…

I love you like the wind.
Like a hole in a well-worn cardigan.
Like a tree grown large inside a grove,
Simply, I love you… my love.

But will you allow me to say…
In brief and in silence…
That I shall give to you and open…
In the quiet of hearts, in a streaming glance,
Three words kidnapped by a dream…
Taken by time… hidden by the evening…
Three words that sound like songs do…
Three simple words… I love you.

– Bolesław Leśmian
(Translation by me)


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