Cyprian Kamil Norwid

1821-1883 / Poland

The Small Circle

How few people there are and even fewer
Longing to reveal themselves!… They pass, they pass
They push each other away while dancing,
Intimate at play, smoothly they cheat, heartily deceive;
Not contemporaries, not close, not even friends,
Grasping hands, slobbering in tight embrace.
The depth between them boils, grows oceanic
And on its foam - they, close now - nominally!
While the world says: 'They are intimates - a family circle,
Our very own!' the blue heaven binds more truly
A thousand tribes in centuries of common slaughter,
Where at least one in each honestly believes in
A common Heaven. Meanwhile they dance : bosom against bosom,
Polar-like unconscious of each other and distinct;
It's enough one lamp shines over them all
And one fashion makes them all alike.
'Our very own!' - what if someone were tracing
From on high a life-map like a map of the globe ?
Mountains and deserts would become a twinkling of an eye,
And the ocean disappear where a tiny tear-drop flows !
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