People

Like Julian Tuwim, Jan Brzechwa was a famous Polish poet. His most beloved poems are children’s poems, but he also wrote poetry for adults. Here’s my translation of his poem “Ludzie”.

We tinker with wheels,
springs,
we set them in motion—
tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock,
we wind the clocks,
but it’s time that we don’t understand.

We know the revolutions of wheels,
We know the revolutions of machines,
We know the revolutions of heavenly bodies,
But we haven’t yet gotten to know ourselves.

We are the watch-makers of the world,
whose circulating blood
allows us to live
and die
the death of a fly.

—Jan Brzechwa
(Translation by me)

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