Powinności / Obligations

by Lidia Kosk | translated by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

You are running
In a hurry
Performing thousands of tasks
No time
For yourself
But it doesn't matter
You are judged
By your obligations to others
You didn't make it
You couldn't
You explain
Then there is blame
You have
No right to stop
You keep running
In a hurry
Touched by love
Bits of tenderness
Your marathon
Without a finish
Without fanfares
Still running

Biegniesz ciągle
W pośpiechu
Spełniasz tysiące czynności
Nie masz
Chwili dla siebie
Lecz to nie ma znaczenia
Jesteś rozliczana
Z obowiązków dla innych
Nie zdążyłaś
Nie mogłaś
Tłumaczysz się
Więc jest wina
Nie masz
Prawa sie zatrzymać
W pośpiechu
Doznajesz miłości
I czułości okruchów
Twój maraton
Nie ma mety
Nie ma fanfar
Wciąż trwa

Music composition by Philip A. Olsen
Performed by The McDonough Upper School Choir
Video by Ryan Sevel

Lidia Kosk, a poet, storyteller, educator, photographer. She is the author of eleven books of poetry and short stories, and two anthologies. Her collaboration with the poet and translator, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, resulted in two bilingual volumes: Niedosyt/Reshapings and Słodka woda, słona woda/Sweet Water, Salt Water. The Japanese edition of the second book appeared in 2016. Lidia collaborated with her husband, Henryk P. Kosk, on the two-volume Poland’s Generals: A Popular Biographical Lexicon. Her 90th birthday is celebrated with a publication of Szklana góra/Glass Mountain, a rendition of her poem in twenty-two languages. Her poems, translated into choral compositions, as the "Polish Triptych," have been performed in several countries. A lawyer, humanitarian, and world traveler, Lidia resides in Warsaw, Poland, where she leads literary workshops and a Poets’ Theater (ATP).

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka is the author of Oblige the Light, winner of the fifth Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize (CityLit Press, 2015), and Face Half-Illuminated, a book of poems, translations, and prose (Apprentice House, 2014). A biochemist, poet, poetry translator, and co-editor of Loch Raven Review, she is also a photographer whose work has been exhibited in shows and used for book covers. She grew up in Poland and now lives in Maryland.

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka


What a wonderful collaboration between Lidia Kosk, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, Philip A. Olsen, Ryan Sevel, and the McDonogh Upper School Choir. Kudos for bringing this piece to life. I imagine we’ve all had the sensation of being overwhelmed by obligations. Thank you everybody.
Victor D. Sandiego, Dec 14, 2018 victordavid.com