the gate

Tadeusz Różewicz

Translated by Joanna Trzeciak
 
Lasciate ogni speranza
Voi ch'entrate
abandon all hope
ye who enter here
the inscription at the entrance to the inferno
of Dante's Divine Comedy
courage!  
behind that gate
there is no hell
hell has been dismantled
by theologians
and deep psychologists
converted into allegory
for humanitarian and educational
reasons
courage!
behind that gate
the same thing begins again
two drunken grave-diggers
sit at the edge of a hole
they're drinking non-alcoholic beer
and munching on sausage
winking at us
under the cross
they play soccer
with Adam's skull
the hole awaits
tomorrow's corpse
the "stiff" is on its way
courage!
here we will await
the final judgment
water gathers in the hole
cigarette butts are floating in it
courage!
behind that gate
there will neither be history
nor goodness nor poetry
and what will there be
dear stranger?
there will be stones
stone
upon stone
stone upon stone
and on that stone
one more
stone
 
From Sobbing Superpower by Tadeusz Różewicz. Copyright © 2010 by Tadeusz Różewicz and Joanna Trzeciak. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company.

Further Reading

Related Poems
Inferno, Canto I
by Dante Alighieri
And the City Stood in its Brightness
by Czeslaw Milosz
I Would Like to Describe
by Zbigniew Herbert
Gate of Freedom
by Deema K. Shehabi
Carpe Diem
A Shropshire Lad, II
by A. E. Housman
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [All the world's a stage]
by William Shakespeare
Three Airs for the Beggar’s Opera, Air XXII
by John Gay
Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene III [O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?]
by William Shakespeare
A Psalm of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A Song On the End of the World
by Czeslaw Milosz
Another Song [Are they shadows that we see?]
by Samuel Daniel
Anything Can Happen
by Seamus Heaney
Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Barter
by Sara Teasdale
Be Drunk
by Charles Baudelaire
Carpe Diem: Poems for Making the Most of Time
Daphnis and Chloe
by Haniel Long
Days
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dreams
by Langston Hughes
Exact
by Rae Armantrout
First Fig
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I Have News for You
by Tony Hoagland
I saw a man pursuing the horizon
by Stephen Crane
I tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl (443)
by Emily Dickinson
If—
by Rudyard Kipling
Live Blindly and Upon the Hour
by Trumbull Stickney
My life closed twice before its close (96)
by Emily Dickinson
My life has been the poem I would have writ
by Henry David Thoreau
O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman
O, Gather Me the Rose
by William Ernest Henley
Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.
by Noah Eli Gordon
Song of Myself, III
by Walt Whitman
Song to Celia
by Ben Jonson
Thanatopsis
by William Cullen Bryant
The Layers
by Stanley Kunitz
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
To His Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell
To Rosa
by Abraham Lincoln
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
by Robert Herrick
Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam
by Ernest Dowson
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths
by Philip James Bailey
When I consider every thing that grows (Sonnet 15)
by William Shakespeare
You Can't Have It All
by Barbara Ras