Towards the sea

View towards the sea from the Chelouche bridge on the edge of Neve Zedek, Florentine and Jaffa. I like that I can’t see the sea, but I know it’s there.

It reminded me of a poem, Hope,  by Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz. I’ve included it below, in the original Polish (in case anyone can read it…) and a translation into English which I did myself as that’s my idea of fun.

Hope is when someone believes
That the world is not a dream, but a living body
And that sight, touch and hearing do not lie.
And that all those things you knew here
Are like a garden, when you stand at the gate.

You can’t enter it. But you are sure it exists.
If only we could look better and more wisely,
We might see in the garden of the world
Another new flower and a nameless star.

There are those who say: don’t trust your eyes.
There is nothing there, it only seems so.
But these are the ones who do not have hope.
They think that if a man should turn around,
The whole world behind him will suddenly cease to be
As if stolen by the hands of thieves.


Nadzieja bywa, jeżeli ktoś wierzy,
Że ziemia nie jest snem, lecz żywym ciałem,
I że wzrok, dotyk ani słuch nie kłamie.
A wszystkie rzeczy, które tutaj znałem,
Są niby ogród, kiedy stoisz w bramie.

Wejść tam nie można. Ale jest na pewno.
Gdybyśmy lepiej i mądrzej patrzyli,
Jeszcze kwiat nowy i gwiazdę niejedną
W ogrodzie świata byśmy zobaczyli.

Niektórzy mówią, że nas oko łudzi
I że nic ne ma, tylko się wydaje,
Ale ci właśnie nie mają nadziei.
Myślą, że kiedy człowiek się odwróci
Cały świat za nim zaraz być przestaje,
Jakby porwały go ręce złodziei. 


12 comments on “Towards the sea”

  1. i like sepia color for the old house.. original composition..

  2. I love the softness and warmth of this. Excellent.

  3. Love the poem. It’s particularly appropriate with this image which gives a sense of hope as to what’s just beyond the horizon…just beyond what we cannot see. Love your composition and the warm rich tones.

  4. “Hope” is very real, and I am a believer in things unseen, things yet lived. This is a warm image that inspires imagination, and the poem is thought provoking.

  5. I like your composition and that one cannot see the sea, and how everything fades the closer it is to the sun and sea.

    I can’t read the original, but your translation sounds “musical” and I know how very difficult it is to come close to the original feeling. Yet the content/meaning of the poem I find is a bit like a sermon, and he preaches too much and his ideas do not resonate for me. Poetry is a very personal thing so please take my words with a grain of salt.

  6. That’s beautiful. Made me “stop” and think.
    I need some time to let it sink.

    The photo looks a bit grim, with that building left and abandoned in that state.. Hope seems like a fitting title here :)

  7. beautiful photo and beautiful poem. good someone can understand this langauge and translate it. i ahve tries so many times. too hard. thank you very much for doing so.

  8. Great atmosphere in this shot, it seems so filled with light, yet it is a bit darkmooded too. Well done

  9. c’est un peu sinistre !

  10. What I especially like about this is the way it all sort of fades out into delicacy. There are hints and whispers, something I always think enhances a photo.

  11. Thanks for your visits and comments.

    Daina – actually I’m interested to hear when someone doesn’t like a poem/ artist/ etc, because it makes me look at the poem/ artist/ etc in a different light. I do think Milosz has a didactic and sometimes “high” stance – I like this poem because I’m impatient and it makes me reflect on the idea that just because I can’t see something NOW it doesn’t mean it’s not there EVER.

    Ilan – The building is sad and empty. It would make a great villa though. One day…

  12. beautiful photo, and poem. thank you for the translation.

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