This is he–Arion–
the Grecian Caruso
concermaster of the ancient world
priceless as a necklace
or rather as a constellation
to the ocean billows and traders in silks
to the tyrants and mule herders
The crowns blacken on the tryants’ heads
and the sellers of onion cakes
for the first time err in their figures to their own disadvantage

What Arion is singing about
nobody here could say exactly
the essential thing is that he restores world harmony
the sea gently rocks the land
fire talks to water without hatred
in the shadow of one hexameter lie down
wolves and roe deer goshawks and doves
and the child goes to sleep on the lion’s mane
as in a cradle
Look how the animals are smiling
People are living on white flowers
and everything is just as good
as it was in the beginning

This is he –Arion–
precious and multiplied
cause of giddiness
standing in a blizzard of images
he has eight fingers like an octave
and he sings

Until from the blues in the west
unravel the luminous threads of saffron
which show that night is coming close
Arion with a friendly shake of his head
says good-by to
the mule herders and tryrants
the shopkeepers and philosophers
and in the harbor mounts the back
of a tame dolphin

–I’ll be seeing you–

How handsome Arion is
–say all the girls–
when he floats out to sea
with a garland of horizons on his head

-by Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998)

by Alexander