Wise Poets – Tadeusz Dąbrowski – Bouquet

Tadeusz Dąbrowski

Paulina, the gardener’s daughter, cares
about flowers doomed to die.
If I bring her a bouquet, she frees it
from the ribbons and gently places it in the hospice
of a vase. When the flowers weaken, she trims their stems
and plucks off their wilting leaves. She takes
the dead ones to the compost, from the rest
she forms a new bouquet. Thus disappear in turn:
poppies, anemones, carnations, damnations and
forget-me-nots, until finally all that’s left are
gypsophila and Judas’ pennies. Paulina,
the gardener’s daughter, sees a bouquet in the vase
even when it’s not there anymore.

Translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones