Heart is stone.

Finished. It has been done, one might even say. Jakób underwent a transformation – a transfiguration – and Baśń (The Tale) soon came to an end. The story itself did not end – it was just the telling of it that ended, because the telling of each and every single story must end at some point. The story itself is eternal and infinite. Like a pot with a rim but without a bottom. Anyone can pour their own content into it. Inside, we are all fairy tales.


I met with Radek at the beginning of the week. We met for the first time in person, in real (?) world; somehow it did not come to pass earlier, we used to talk only on the phone. It is very good that we met. I had a strong feeling that I had to ask him something, although I did not know exactly what. But I had asked. The question asked itself, one might say. It concerned the last words of the libretto: “Imię moje kamień” [My name is stone]. I was not sure how to understand it. And now I am, and the last part of the piece has taken on a slightly different shape than I had originally intended. In fact, I probably spent more time on the details of this libretto than in the case of the previous dramas. Radek gave me a framework and a certain rhythm, but generously left me free to determine the final arrangement of elements. The text underwent several metamorphoses during the creative process. I played a bit with rhythm and rhyme; I also looked into the source – Baśń o wężowym sercu (The Tale of the Serpent’s Heart) – and drew from it a bit more than the author himself did at first. For example, the sea in the viscera of a snake – an image that somehow shook me. It did not make it to the first version of the libretto, now it has a place there. An infinite horizon contained in the inconspicuous body of ouroboros (a serpent eating its own tail) that also symbolises infinity.


The serpent is initially unaware that it ends at some point. It learns about things as a head. But that head also has a tail – representing the necessary, somewhat grotesque minimum of physiological existence – the smallest necessary path of metabolism visible to the naked eye. Eventually, in the course of exploring the world, the head encounters its own tail and starts to eat it, devour it, just like everything else it meets on its path. It continues eating, and eating, until it finally reaches its head and – finds itself in quite a quandary. A singularity.


I am in quite a peculiar quandary. We are all in quite a peculiar quandary; which takes away the breath.


I mentioned once that I wanted a part of the text to be sung in Ukrainian. But no, there is a historical context there that would contradict this (the story of Jakub Szela), and besides, perhaps such reflexive, ad hoc addition is not be necessary. The translation was created anyway and it is very beautiful (by Ostap Ukrainec), so let me publish at least a part of it here (in Polish, Ukrainian, English - by Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska - and transliterated):


Serce to głębia, na górze warowna osada.

Serce to kamień, jedyna prawda.

Serce to pustka, ziejąca rana.

po lewej stronie świata.


Серце — безодня, у горах сокрита ґражда.

Серце — то камінь, єдина правда.

Серце — то пустка, роззявлена рана.

По ліву руч світу.


Heart is depth, a fortified castle on summit.

Heart is stone, the only truth.

Heart is emptiness, a gaping wound.

On the left side of the world


Serce — bezodnya, u horax sokryta grazhda.

Serce — to kamin, yedyna pravda.

Serce — to pustka, rozzyavlena rana.

Po livu ruch svitu.

(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)