Adam Mickiewicz

(24 December 1798 – 26 November 1855 / Zavosse, Nowogródek)

The Castle Ruins At Balaklava - Poem by Adam Mickiewicz

These castles, whose remains are strewn in heaps for miles,
Once graced and guarded you, Crimea the ungrateful!
Today they sit upon the hills, each like a great skull
In which reptiles reside or men worse than reptiles.
 
Let’s climb a tower, search for crests upon worn tiles,
For an inscription or a hero’s name, the fateful
Bane of armies now forgotten by the faithful,
A wizened beetle wrapped in vines below the aisles.
 
Here Greeks wrought Attic ornaments upon the walls,
From which Italians would cast Mongols into chains,
And where the Mecca-bound once stopped to pray and beg.
 
Today above the tombs the shadow of night falls,
The black-winged buzzards fly like pennants over plains,
As if towards a city ever touched by plague.




— translated from the Polish by Leo Yankevich
first appeared in the Sarmatian Review


Comments about The Castle Ruins At Balaklava by Adam Mickiewicz

  • (1/4/2010 5:34:00 AM)

    Great poetry! ! ! Adam Mickiewicz rules! ! ! (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • (1/4/2010 5:32:00 AM)

    Adam Mickiewicz, the greatest Poet from Poland! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, February 19, 2009

Poem Edited: Friday, December 23, 2011


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