Skip to content


Translations of Norwid's text provide ways for a non-Polish audience to enjoy the writer's work.

The following page lists a Norwid poem in Polish with 3 English translations.

The translations, though of a short poem, provide an interesting comparison and show the different ways in which language can be interpreted and the way different authors approach their work.

The poem Daj Mi Wstążkę Błękitną is shown with the Polish and 3 English translations.


Cyprian Norwid

Daj mi wstążkę błękitną — oddam ci ją
Bez opóźnienia...
Albo - daj mi cień twój z giętką twą szyją:
— Nie! nie chcę cienia.

Cień zmieni się, gdy ku mnie skiniesz ręką,
Bo on nie kłamie!
Nic od ciebie nie chcę, śliczna panienko,
Usuwam ramię...

Bywałem ja od Boga nagrodzonym,
Rzeczą mniej wielką:
Spadłym listkiem, do szyby przyklejonym,
Deszczu kropelką.

Give Me a Blue Ribbon...

Translation - Danuta Borchardt

Give me a blue ribbon - I'll return it
Without delay...
Or give me the shadow of your supple neck:
— No! Not the shadow, nay.

The shadow will shudder, when you beckon me,
For it doesn't lie!
I want nothing from you, young lady of charm,
I withdraw my arm...

God used to grant me
Much smaller things:
A fallen leaf stuck to a windowpane,
A drop of rain.

Translated from the Polish by Danuta Borchardt - POEMS - Cyprian Norwid.
Used by permission from archipelago booksopen_in_new

Give Me That Sky-Blue Ribbon

Translation - Jerzy Peterkiewicz

Give me that sky-blue ribbon, you’ll get it back
Entire, and undelayed…
Or else give me the shadow of your neck:
But no! I want no shade.

A shade will change when your hand beckons me,
For shadows do not sham.
No, I want nothing from you, pretty lady.
I take away my arm.

God usually rewards with lesser things,
Such as a drop of rain,
A fallen leaf that obstinately clings,
Stuck to the window-pane.

Translated from the Polish by Jerzy Peterkiewicz - CYPRIAN NORWID Poems – Letters – Drawings
(In collaboration with Christine Brooke-Rose and Burns Singer).

Used by permission from Carcanet Pressopen_in_new

[Give me a blue ribbon…]

Translation - Adam Czerniawski

Give me a blue ribbon – I will hand it back
Without delay…
Or give me the shadow of your supple neck:
-No! not the shadow.

The shadow will change when you wave,
It does not lie.
Now there is nothing I desire, lovely maid,
I take my arm away…

God’s past rewards
Were lesser things:
A leaf stuck to a window pane,
A drop of rain.

Translated from the Polish by Adam Czerniawski - Cyprian Kamil Norwid – Selected Poems.
Used by permission from Anvil Press Poetryopen_in_new

Additional translations of Norwid's work are available.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.