– Poetry: the American Periods
In general, it must be said that Kosyk’s writing have come down to us in a state that is far from satisfactory. This is true in spite of the fact that many of Kosyk’s texts are actually accessible in print. This unsatisfactory condition is caused by Kosyk’s biography, on the one hand, by particular traits of (Lower) Sorbian literature, on the other hand, and finally by the text editions available.
1. Since Kosyk spent the time after 1883 far away from the Sorbian language area he had very few possibilities to control the publication of his writings. To this must be added the fact that he found it to be increasingly difficult to write in Lower Sorbian. As early as the nineties he asked B. Šwjela to correct his texts. His complaints about linguistic difficulties increased in the years after the First World War. This last period is poorly documented: the papers left behind by the poet that must have contained much material are presumably lost.
2. Since the market for Sorbian literature was rather small it did not pay off to publish texts separately, especially in the case of poetry. Thus literature was usually published in a few Sorbian journals. In the case of Kosyk these are the Łužica, a cultural monthly journal, and the Časopis Maćicy Serbskeje, the scholarly and literary journal of the Maćica Serbska. In addition he often published his texts in the Bramborski serbski casnik (later Bramborske nowiny [where Kosyk was a co-editor], Bramborski casnik, Serbski casnik, and Nowy serbski casnik). In the case of the Łužica and the Časopis Maćicy Serbskeje it was usual that the editors (A. Muka and M. Hórnik) changed the texts considerably in order to «improve» them. These «improvements» were often restricted to linguistic aspects (especially the replacement of alleged Germanisms by proper Sorbian words and of «mistakes»). They could also extend to poetic aspects of texts (especially the «improvement» of rhymes). This kind of interference by editors can be met with later on as well (in some cases it is a hallowed practice to this day).
3. As far as complete editions of the writings of Kosyk are concerned there is only the edition prepared by B. Šwjela in the 1920s which appeared in the series Knihownja dom a swět (edited by Vladimír Zmeškal). It was to comprise at least five volumes (cf. Kosyk 1929: VIII) but only three of them were actually published (Zgromaźone spisy Mato Kosyka II, III, IV) containing a part of the historical trilogy (Kosyk 1924) and two volumes of poetry (Kosyk 1929, Kosyk 1930). In the preparation of his edition Šwjela used printed versions only even though Kosyk had indicated to him the existence of manuscript materials (these materials were actually accessible in the library of the Maćica Serbska at that time). A similar situation obtained with the partial editions published in the GDR (Kosyk 1955, 1956, 1983) unless they contained new material (even then there was interference by purist editors). Even the edition planned by Mětšk (cf. his numerous articles, above all Mětšk 1986) was based on printed materials.
Another problem of the accessible editions is their incompleteness. Not all of the texts Kosyk submitted to the editors were published. Translated texts were generally ignored, even though they are an important part of Kosyk’s writing and even though he himself valued them very highly (cf. the poem Basnjenja marnosć a trajnosć).
Considering this particular situation it is important to use those texts that are most authentic. These are above all the texts in manuscript form but also those printed texts where we may assume a minimum of editorial interference.
Such authentic texts exist for a majority of Kosyk’s writings, especially for those that were written before 1883. For this period we dispose of three manuscript volumes with poems (as well as a dramatic text and a part of the historical trilogy) written and bound by the poet himself (cf. the facsimile edition Kosyk 1993, 1994). To this may be added a few more manuscripts (a dramatic text [facsimile edition Kosyk 1994a] and a further part of the historical trilogy) and the first edition of the Serbska swaźba w Błotach payed for by the poet himself and thus most certainly containing an authentic text (Kosyk 1880). Furthermore, the poems and prose texts published in the Bramborske nowiny were hardly altered much since Kosyk was a co-editor of the newspaper. For the time after 1883 there are also quite a few autographs of his texts.
Currently the critical edition of complete writing of Mato Kosyk is appearing. Wherever possible it is based on the original texts of the poet. So far two volumes have been published (Kosyk 2000, Kosyk 2001). They contain texts of the Werben period (poetry, Serbska swaźba w Błotach, the historical trilogy, two dramatic texts). The third volume (to appear in two half-volumes) containing the remaining texts of the Werben period is currently being prepared. The first part of this volume is scheduled to appear for the 150th anniversary of the poet.
In this section the texts of the Werben period are based on the critical edition of the collected writings (Kosyk 2000 is referred to as SMK 1, Kosyk 2001 as SMK 2); for all other texts the source used is identified.
A special problem for the reception of Kosyk’s writings are translations. Only an insignificant part of Kosyk’s writings have been translated. Basically translations are restricted to German and Slavonic languages. In general, it is only the shorter texts that were translated. This makes it almost impossible to get an idea of Kosyk’s writing without knowing Lower Sorbian. The following overview cannot aspire to fill this gap. (Some of the Lower Sorbian texts have been translated into English. More will be added. The reader conversant with German is referred to the German version of this text where there are more translations.)
In spite of the fact that Kosyk was not in direct contact with Lower Sorbian literature after his emigration he was a rather prolific writer. On the basis of his biography his literary activity may be divided into several periods separated chronologically or geographically:
Werben period 1877-1883
First American period 1883-1886
Second American period 1892-1898
Third American period 1923-1937.
This division allows us to group Kosyk’s writings horizontally, so to speak.
On the other hand, Kosyk’s writings have quite a few common features that are not restricted to one or another of the periods. This is especially true on the thematic and formal level. Thus we get a second division, cutting across periods. It might be called the vertical division.
In the following sections the vertical division will be treated first starting out with basic features and continuing with formal and thematic aspects. The analysis of particular texts adds a chronological perspective since the larger texts, dramatic texts and prose were in general written during the Werben period. The same holds true for the church hymns as an example of Kosyk’s translating activities. In the description of his poetry the thematic and formal principles are more important, but still we shall differentiate between the Werben period as opposed to the American periods.
The most obvious common feature of all of Kosyk’s writings is language. Even though Kosyk was bilingual (Lower Sorbian and German) and later acquired English as a third language all of his texts are written in Lower Sorbian. His brand of Lower Sorbian has a particular flair. It is basically made up of two sources: the village vernacular (Werben dialect) of the 19th century, on the one hand, and the language of religious writing, on the other hand. On the whole, Kosyk’s language is rather archaising and this is so due to two reasons. One is that he consciously used archaic expressions that only the older generation was familiar with. The seconds stems from his other basic linguistic source: the language of religious writing and especially the language of the Bible were, as in many other languages, rather archaic. Finally, Kosyk did not experience the development of the language after his emigration. (It is during this time that the language of Lower Sorbian literature underwent considerable changes especially due to Upper Sorbian influence.) For more than fifty years Kosyk conserved his particular brand of Lower Sorbian and used it in his writings.
Another peculiarity, characteristic of most of his writings, is the fact that it is written in verse. Kosyk wrote prose only as an exception (especially in journalistic texts). In all other cases he prefers to rhyme or to fit his language into metric structures. This is not only true for lyrical but also for epic and dramatic tetxts.
The literary tradition that Kosyk identifies with is a further underlying feature of his writings. His point de repe`re is the classical tradition enriched by a romantic influence. The classical tradition finds its expression above all in form, especially in the metric structures and in the structure of stanzas or poems. The romantic lineage is present in form as well (especially in the case of poems written in a popular vein), but more so on the thematic level. The literature that he is most closely connected with is the German tradition (most obviously Schiller and Goethe). The Slavic connections are much weaker. Most surprising is the almost complete lack of Upper Sorbian influence.
A last important feature is the prominence of translations in Kosyk’s writings. Kosyk translated much, almost exclusively from German originals.
Kosyk’s texts are usually written in verse. In this he is not restricted to a few forms. Rather, he seems to have loved experimenting. It is worth noting that he was conversant with classical (metric) forms as well as with more simple and traditional rhyming forms that can be met with in popular poetry. In spite of this link with tradition he does not shun more contemporary forms (assonance).
Among metric forms he prefers hexameter. His first published booklet, Serbska swaźba w Błotach (The Sorbian Wedding in the Błota/Spreewald), consists of almost 2000 hexameters. In the early Werben period he wrote three longer texts with a religious content that were written in distichs (hexameter and pentameter): Ten kśicowany (The Crucified), Źo jo Bog? (Where is God?), and Helestupjenje Jezusa Kristusa (The Descent of Jesus Christ to Hell). He uses hexameter later on as well, especially in dedicatory texts.
The historical trilogy is indebted to this classical tradition as well since the three parts are made up of a hundred stanzas (ottava rima) and 69 and 23 sestines, respectively (the prologue is also written in sestines). Furthermore, Kosyk liked the sonnet. In his first volume of poetry there are four sonnets under the heading Wěnjaški (Garlands, Crowns) (Kosyk 1993: 121-125). These sonnets do not constitute a part of a real crown of sonnets.
The majority of poems, however, uses more simple forms. A special favourite of Kosyk’s are stanzas of four lines with two pairs of rhymes and rather short lines (usually three or four, sometimes only two accented syllables).
Kosyk’s rhymes often deviate from classical form. They are not necessarily «pure» rhymes but are more reminiscent of assonance. Kosyk uses this form consciously and defended his choice. Nevertheless, many of his poems were «improved» upon by editors who transformed his assonances into «pure» rhymes.
Kosyk’s writings show a remarkable continuity in the themes he chooses. This continuity even bridges long breaks in his poetic activity. The large majority of his texts may be subsumed under a few thematic headings.
The most central aspect for Kosyk’s writings (and indeed for Kosyk the man as well) is Christian faith. It is the topic of many of his texts but it is also ever-present in almost all the texts at least in the background, a meta-theme, as it were. The importance of this theme increases with time so that its preponderance is most notable in the third American period.
Closely connected with Christian faith is nature. Nature is always seen as God’s creation. It is thus only the visible expression of God. In the Werben period nature is usually depicted as friendly. Poems written in America, on the other hand, may describe the destructive power and the dangers inherent in nature.
A further thematic heading is the opposition «home – away» (doma – w cuzej zemi). Home to Kosyk is always the Błota/Spreewald and in those times this meant the Sorbian Błota. Home is connected to all the other thematic headings: Christian faith as it was present in the Błota, nature, the Sorbian/Slavonic topic, and history. (In some texts his concept of home is extended to encompass Brandenburg or Prussia or even all of Germany.) The antipode «away», i.e. all things foreign, is usually connected with the New World (only in texts from the Werben period this may refer to the world outside the Błota/Spreewald). When speaking of the foreign world home is ever present and everywhere the poet is looking for connections leading back home. (This is expecially evident in the comparison of the American natives with the Sorbs.)
His native language is always present when Kosyk speaks of home but it can be found elsewhere as well. In any case, language is decisive for Kosyk. It is always the language, its beauty, but also the imminent danger of its extinction that he speaks about. Texts in this area are often of a very appellative character. When speaking of Sorbian (Serbski) Kosyk basically refers to Lower Sorbian. The word, however, may also encompass Sorbian as a whole and the Sorbian theme may be extended to encompass Slavonic as well.
Last but not least there are many texts devoted to history. It is mainly Sorbian history, then also Brandenburgian or Prussian and sometimes even Slavonic history. The poet does not distinguish between historical fact, legends, and mythology.
It is surprising for a lyrical poet that love should play a rather restricted role in his writings. Most of Kosyk’s texts in this area deal with love within a family (mainly between parents and children). Poetry speaking of love relationship between man and woman is represented only scarcely and most of these texts express a rather resignative mood.
As a whole the poet concentrates on a rather small world. From this he takes a look at the wide world he is confronted with. His small world is also his point of reference. The loss of this small world (his «paradise») is expressed in almost all of his texts written in America for the poet never came to grips with this loss. Only in faith did he find comfort. The opposition «home – away» could only be overcome in death.
Kosyk wrote two longer texts that belong to the earliest period in his career and made him immediately the most important representative of Lower Sorbian literature.
Serbska swaźba w Błotach (The Sorbian Wedding in the Spreewald) is his first text that was published separately. Kosyk had it printed 1880 at his own expense (Kosyk 1880, SMK 2: 45-115, partial translation into German in Kosyk 1986). The text is written in hexameters throughout. It is divided into three parts (631, 674, and 650 lines respectively) describing the day before the wedding at the bridegroom’s home, the same day at the bride’s home, and the wedding itself. Popular customs connected with weddings occupy a prominent position. The poem tells the story of a wedding between the son of a well-to-do farmer and the daughter of a village mayor. Direct speeches of the persons involved (especially the bridegroom’s and the bride’s parents and the bride and the groom themselves) serve to accentuate the psychological aspect of the wedding. People often refer back to earlier festivities in the village. The customs (sending off and accepting the dowry, preparing the marital bed, banquets during the three days of the wedding, activities of the best man, description of traditional dress etc. etc.) are presented by the narrator. When describing the festivities wherein all of the villagers participate Kosyk presents a picture of village life in those days and manages to show the functioning of the social structure. Two side themes create suspense: the bride fears the possible revenge of the innkeeper’s son who had courted her unsuccessfully and there is a love story that in spite of many obstacles finally comes to a happy end. Thus the end is linked to the beginning since the next wedding is imminent.
As far as form and content are concerned the text is a masterpiece, especially when considering that Lower Sorbian literature stood only at its beginning. In spite of the rigour of the metrical structure the language is natural (this may be explained by the dactylicity of Lower Sorbian). The text flows peacefully since the poet refrains from using too many poetic figures. The simplicity of language adds to its naturalness. If poetic figures are employed they do not sound artificial at all. This can be shown by the way the author uses key words, in this case wjasele (joy) that recurs quite often:
"Wjasele, wjasele wucuju sam, a zasej som młody" (1)
"wjasele derbi se zwigaś, wjasele we wšyknych nadrach." (353)
"Wjasele, wjasele lažy na kuždem woblicu źěnsa." (1599)
"Wjasele, žaglece płomje ga zgorješo wutšobu w nadrach,
w wjaselu pśiźechmy tudy, w wjaselu wujźomy zasej." (1933/34)
Furthermore, alliteration and internal rhyming can be encountered:
"Wijśo te wěnki k wjasołym goźinam wěžćo a wijśo" (658 und 702)
"pśipijuce piwo na paleńc a paleńc na piwo." (1771)
"šklicki a łžycki, głažki a flaški, což trěbne na blido." (891)
Confer also the following short story told by a spinster delighting in intrigues:
"Běštej ga raz dwě goleśi rědnej Lizka a Hanzko,
kotarejž stawnje gromaźe bywaštej rano a pozdźe,
nicht pak njegrajkotašo zjadnjej ak Hanzko a Lizka.
Pozdźej pak zwěrnje se lubowaštej Liza a Hanzo,
tak ak te źiśece dny ga běchu teke te starše,
pśeto glucnjejšy njeběšo nichten ak Hanzo a Liza.
Po dłujkim casu pak wjeźešo stara Liza tog Hanza,
tak ako cowanje pśejźechu jima goźiny, lěta.
Skoro tež lažaštej w rowje stary Hanzo z tej Lizu." (505-513)
The mixture of ethnographic description, action, and reflection is highly successful. With this text Kosyk gave a valid description of Sorbian village life of the 19th century and proved at the same time that Lower Sorbian could be used for writing literature.
The other longer text that Kosyk wrote is devoted to Sorbian history. It is clad in the form of a trilogy: Serbskich woścow śerpjenja a chwalba (The Sorbian Forefathers’ Suffering and Praise, SMK 2: 119-206). It describes the fight of the Sorbs against the German conquerors (which they eventually lost) and their conversion to Christianity. Both historical and legendary events are woven into the narrative.
During Kosyk’s lifetime only the first part and pro- and epilogue appeared in print. The rest remained in manuscript form. It seems that he had planned to unite some of his historical texts to a whole very early but the trilogy as we know it today was only shaped in 1882. No separate manuscript of the trilogy has survived but the structure may be reconstructed from one of Kosyk’s letters.
The trilogy is opened by a short prologue. It is a prayer of the (heathen) Sorbs before the battle with margrave Gero written in sestines (SMK 2: 119-121). The first part of the trilogy proper, Pśerada markgroby Gera abo Pad 30 serbskich głonikow (The Betrayal by Margrave Gero or the Fall of the 30 Sorbian Leaders, SMK 2: 123-157), consists of 100 stanzas (ottava rima). The text is clad in the form of an eyewitness account given by the sole survivor of the carnage. It describes how thirty Sorbian leaders invited by margrave Gero to conclude a peace treaty in his castle are murdered; thereby the sacred law of hospitality is violated. The second part, Branibora pad (The Fall of Branibor, SMK 2: 159-195), describes the capture of the Sorbian capital Branibor/Brandenburg and the Sorbs’ loss of independence. The third part, Jacsłow (SMK 2: 197-203), relates the story of the last Sorbian leader Jacsłow. After the last battle he attempts to ford the Spree river and is saved from drowning through the intercession of the Christian God. This prompts him to convert to Christianity and to forsake war. Both texts are written in sestines (69 and 23, respectively). The epilogue (SMK 2: 205-206) leads back to the present since it is made up of reflections by a young Sorb on the fate of his ancestors.
From a formal point of view Kosyk abandons hexameter and turns to rhyme and stanzas. Ottava rima and sestines are rather traditional and betray the influence of classical tradition. It has to be said, however, that the rhymes are often of the assonant type.
As in the Serbska swaźba w Błotach Kosyk employs keywords (in the first part it is měr (peace) and łdgaś (to lie)) and he links the text internally by repeating lines completely or in part.
K měru pak smy něto pśichylone,
sam waš bog jo k tom nas pśiwabił,
pśez měr jano smy zas wukšuśone,
wotpocywa, chtož se wumucył.
Měr jo balsam na wše śěžke rany,
měr wot wužyśa nam skoro znani,
potom zaznějo zas wjasele,
w drugich zukach tšuny zaklince. (361-368)
Nimc ga dawa Serbu źinsa ruku (85)
Gaž se Nimc bźo Serbu ruku dawaś (237)
Sławnem Serbu Nimc źins ruku dawa (566)
In the composition Kosyk uses double entendre in Gero’s speeches that hint at the further development of the story. The prophetic truth hidden in them it becomes apparent at the end.
taki měr se stwori mjazy nami,
kakiž wumarłe jan maju sami (573-74)
smjerśi měr cu teke wam nět dawaś (637)
Smjerśi měr se wšuder zmawowašo (733)
In the second part of the trilogy the task of predicting future developments is handed over to some of the dramatis personae: a soothsayer (57-84) and a singer who describes the imminent subjugation of the Sorbs in his song in the form of an allegory (133-204) (at the end of the poem it turns out that the soothsayer and the singer are one and the same person, 379-384).
The third part is based on the legend of the Schildhorn (literally shield-horn). In a running narrative that describes Jacsłow’s flight he calls to the Gods (or to God) three times for help and this heightens suspense. As for the intention of the text it is important to note that the third part of the trilogy sees the christianization of the Sorbs as the result of a free decision by Jacsłow and his people. Christianization was thus not forced upon the Sorbs by the German conquerors.
Hyšći źinsa pomnik pśistojny (...)
wony rog we Habli wupyšnijo
a ze šćitom zwjercha pokšyty
woneg statka wěrnosć wobznanijo,
ako Jacsłow, serbski wojwoda as Jacsłow the Sorbian war chief,
z ludom stupi wolnje z tataństwa. (SMK 2: 203). together with his people left paganism freely.
The prologue and especially the epilogue provide the trilogy with a framework that clearly expresses Kosyk’s intentions. In the prologue he voices the hope of the Sorbs to be able to withstand the pressure exerted by the Germans and does so in classical form. The epilogue leads back to the present on the level of content, composition and form.
Tudy stojm na rědnem brjoze,
w rěce žwałki dalej du.
Něga na tej chytšej droze
moje woścy chojźachu. (SMK 2: 206)
The opposition between the present and the post is expressed in the first stanza and is developed in the text. The last stanza opposes the actual situation in Brandenburg (Germanization of a formerly Slavic area) and the actual situation in the Błota where the Sorbs and their language are still very much alive:
Jo, we Błotach, tam su doma
hyšći Serby z wěrnosću;
chtož jo serbski, njeposroma
tam rěc swoju maminu. (SMK 2: 206)
Formally the epilogue points towards Kosyk’s later writings (short lines and four-line stanzas) and thus symbolizes a change in his writings.
The longer texts are mainly restricted to the Werben period. The only exceptions are the poems Kak indiańske zernka nastachu (How the Indians Discovered Corn) 1893 (Kosyk 1893: 19-26) and Na drogi! (To the road!) 1894-1926 (Kosyk 1930: 57-66).
Of the two poems Kak indiańske zernka nastachu and Na drogi! the latter is of particular interest since it has remarkable parallels to Schiller’s well-known Lied von der Glocke (a text that is compulsory reading in German schools even today). These parallels are most evident in the composition. In both cases work carried out by a group of workers is described (bell founding and road construction, respectively), work that has to be carried out in consecutive steps. They are described by orders given by the foundry master and the mayor. Between them the poet has ample opportunity for reflections prompted by the work in progress and leading him from the more specific to the more general. Parallels can also be found in content and structure. Both texts begin the description of the situation which is followed by a praise of work. Then the connection between bell/road and human life is established. A bell accompanies man at decisive events in his life whereas a road is a metaphor for life to be met with in Kosyk’s writings quite often. After the description of life as it unfolds (Na drogi! II) obstacles that hamper normal development are described. In the case of the Lied von der Glocke it is fire and death that are a threat to man. In road construction rocks (III) and thorns (IV) must be removed in order to assure safe travelling. Similar obstacles are to be met with in the life of man. They are represented by disasters and by complications caused by evil. Both bell founding and road construction are interrupted by a break, giving the workers time to relax. Schiller uses the interruption to praise the stable social order whereas Kosyk departs from the fact that food is consumed during the break and reflects on spiritual fortification (V) thus elaborating a time-honoured religious topos. The description of revolution in Schiller’s text is not taken up by Kosyk. Instead he substitutes reflections on the importance of the word of God for man (VI). The last part in Kosyk’s text (VII) describes the end of the work day and draws a parallel to the end of the life span. Here as before there are direct references to the bell theme.
Wjacorny zwonjašk k modlitwje znějo, Słuchaj, wejsny zwonjašk klincy
Słynjaško zgasujo (1930: 65) Pśez gory, pśez doły
Až do dłymi wutšoby,
Co to skjarže wusta Wšudy wabi, wšudy bincy:
Wejsneg zwonjaška? (1930: 66) Pojźćo do cerkwje
Wumocowat se. (1930: 63)
The comparison of the two texts clearly shows how Kosyk elaborates inspirations taken from other writings. On the surface Na drogi! is completely different from Das Lied von der Glocke. The parallels exist on a higher level but there are also profound differences. For Kosyk the religious aspect is always central whereas for Schiller it is only one of many aspects and it is almost completely neglected in large parts of the poem. Another important difference is discernible in the basic mood expressed. In spite of a few low-keyed parts Schiller’s text expresses a positive mood whereas Kosyk’s text is rather melancholy. This is most evident in the description of youth.
Ihm ruhen noch im Zeitenschoße Gole juž nawuknjo how
Die schwarzen und die heitern Lose, Z maśernych sćanych łdzow
Der Mutterliebe zarte Sorgen Na klinje zbožnosći
Bewachen seinen goldnen Morgen - Cłowjecne bědnosći.
Se wono smjejkoco,
W smjaśu juž zapłaco. (1930: 59)
With his longer texts but also with his shorter poetry Kosyk could not hope to reach the Sorbian population at large and to contribute to the preservation of the Sorbian language. This, however, was most important for him. The desire to take part in the fight for the survival of the Sorbian language prompted him to collaborate in editing the Bramborske nowiny and in the revision of the church hymns. This very same motivation explains why he tried his hand at dramatic texts. They allowed him to reach the Sorbs through the spoken word.
Only two dramatic texts have survived. The first one, Božemje serbskich wojakow (The Farewell of the Sorbian Soldiers, SMK 2: 209-221), is the first original Lower Sorbian play and at the same time the first original Sorbian play that was staged. The premie`re took place in 1882 as part of the celebrations of the Kaiser’s birthday in Wjerbno/Werben (1885 it was staged again to celebrate the victory at Sedan). Two short scenes describe the farewell of the village youth called up to serve in the army, a situation that was quite typical for village life in those days. In the first scene the village mayor is reluctant to let his son Juro leave in spite of the patriotic feelings they both entertain. The reason for his reluctance is the prediction by an old gypsy woman that his son would die young in battle but that he would have a second son to replace him. The second scene explains the hidden meaning of the prophecy: Four soldiers join with Juro, one of them demands permission to marry Juro’s sister and thus becomes the second son. Juro is convinced that the prophecy will be fulfilled for him as well, he comforts his father and leaves with the other soldiers. The story is quite fitting for the occasion and reflects patriotic feelings that were en vogue then. The topos of the Sorbs being excellent soldiers and good patriots was certainly appreciated by the audience (this topos is to be found in some of Kosyk’s poems as well).
The second play, Cesć łužyskego ryśarja (The Honour of a Lusatian Knight, SMK 2: 223-242), is dedicated to Kosyk’s promotor Michał Hórnik on the occasion of his 25. anniversary as a catholic priest. It has the form of an allegory in three acts. Dramatis personae are Upper and Lower Lusatia, Slavic gods, many good and evil spirits from Slavic mythology, and the Sorbian people. In the first act the person to be honoured (who is never named in the play) is praised as an indefatigable champion for all Sorbs and their unity is invoked. The second act is a kind of witch sabbath where the evil spirits try to prevent the honouring of Hórnik. Due to the intercession of the good spirits they fail. The third act finally describes the elation of Hórnik by Bełybog, the White God. It is remarkable that Kosyk replaces the classic pantheon that is usual in allegoric plays by its Slavic counterpart.
Mato Kosyk was not a typical prose writer. The few texts in prose that we have of him are mostly the result of his work as a co-editor of the Bramborske nowiny. Thematically they do not add very much to the poetic texts. Worth mentioning are the texts devoted to historical topics: Schildhorn relates the story that is also dealt with in Jacsłow. Parts of the stories from Někotare basnicki wot serbskego krala may also be found in poems again. Na wušu pśikazń elaborates a story attributed to Frederic the Great.
Another group of texts contains several short articles on church holidays. In addition there are two longer stories that go back to German originals that were either adapted or translated: Jadnasta kazń and Ten spadnjony row. Kosyk was obviously interested in «exotic» topics as well. This can be seen in his articles on the Sorbian emigration overseas or in Eskimarje where he describes the life of the Inuit. After his emigration he wrote a short story about the Indians, Rozgrono z Indianom. Again there are parallels to this text in some of his poems.
In sum most of his prose texts are written for the average newspaper reader and do not pretend to be of high artistic value.
For the church as well as for the Sorbs church hymns were very important. In most cases they provided the only direct contact of the population with the Sorbian church language since many of them were learnt by rote. It may be said that the translation of the Lutheran hymnal was the first best seller of Lower Sorbian literature. Unfortunately, the Lower Sorbian texts were often translated rather poorly and did not reach the level of the originals neither in the language employed nor in the rhythm. Thus a large scale revision was undertaken in 1880 and Kosyk had a decisive part in it. He revised more than a third of all texts, i.e. about 250 hymns. Depending on the quality of the previous translation his revision differed. In some cases the alterations were minimal, in others, however, we have a completely new translation. Kosyk himself valued his collaboration in the revision very highly. In retrospective (in the poem Basnjenja marnosć a trajnosć, Kosyk 1983: 47) he puts it above his original poetry since, so his argument went, his original poetry was largely forgotten whereas the texts revised by him were regularly sung in church.
Short poetic texts occupy a central position in Kosyk’s writings. In addition to the two longer texts it is especially these short poems that form the basis for Kosyk’s claim to fame. His text cannot be classified simply on the basis of form or content or chronology. B. Šwjela, the first editor of his collected works, tried to solve the problem by dividing the poems into several thematic «cycles», perhaps after consultation with Kosyk himself. Both the edition planned by Mětšk and the edition appearing now adhere to this principle but they complement it by a chronological aspect. In this chapter Kosyk’s writings will be presented on the basis of such a thematic/chronological classification.
W paradizu wot wšych swětow is devoted to the Błota. In spite of the fact that Kosyk was firmly rooted in this area only few of the texts express his personal views in a direct fashion (Golc z Błota, SMK 1: 61). More typical for this cycle are rather elegic texts expressing the longing for his home. «Home» in this context is to be understood in a figurative sense as well. In addition to the Błota it may also refer to youth (Młodosć wěc njepśiźo, SMK 1: 107) or it may even be any point de repe`re for the searching narrator. The classical example for this is the sonnet Njewěstosć (Incertainty):
Ja du, co pšašam wšak za wěstej drogu?
Co derbim dlej na proznu radu cakaś?
Tu pšawu kśěł ja hyšći ducy zmakaś,
tak z naźeju tež dalej stupaś mogu.
Gaž pak wša błudnosć źaržy moju nogu,
a co tež mojo woko slěpiś łakaś,
pon mogał ja dla wšeje proce płakaś,
wot cuzeg proga błuźiś k cuzem progu.
Lej, złotna gwězda gluki se mě błyšći,
chto wě, lěc w jadnom wokognuśu jano?
Cu dostaś ju a stupam k wojowanju.
Ten spušća mě, ten znowa wabi hyšći;
mam ducy pśikiwanje wšuderkano,
a njewěm sam lěc z dobyśim raz stanu.
The texts devoted to the Błota betray a folkloristic or historical perspective. Space is devoted especially to folk customs, most typically to the tradition of the spinning-room (pśěza). Some of the poems (e.g. Campor, SMK 1: 114, Sroka, SMK 1: 120, Nowa srědnosć, SMK 1: 121) were probably intended to be sung. Formally the texts are rather simple. The four-line stanza is often used. The proximity to folk poetry and folk-song is unmistakable.
A concept of «home» exists with Kosyk in an extended fashion comprising all the Sorbs (or the area where they live, Lusatia) or even all the Slavs. This can already be seen in the longer texts (historical trilogy, Cesć łužyskego ryśarja) but it is also evident in poems that betray the influence of the «young Sorbian» movement (Moj woścojski kraj, SMK 1: 134, Łužycy, SMK 1: 139).
Źiśecy raj contains poems connected with childhood in various ways. Some of the texts are obviously Kosyk’s own childhood memories, others are poems about children, and finally there are those texts that are written for children, sometimes even from a child’s perspective. All of these texts are formally simple and mostly rather short. They show the poet’s ability to understand children and their world. Most impressive is the classic Lower Sorbian lullaby Spijkaj źiśetko:
Spijkaj źiśetko, Spijkaj źiśetko, Spijkaj źiśetko,
zacyń wocycko. zacyń wocycko. zacyń wocycko,
Lubosć maśeŕna śi paso, Nicht śi njedej ze sni buźiś, jańźelik how poglědujo,
w wutšobje śi stawnje njaso. žedna wacycka raz nuźiś; pśed škodu śi wobzwarnujo;
O, ty njewěš to. k měru wšykno źo. Spijkaj źiśetko. (SMK 1: 165)
Ze stworjenja źo moj spiw contains that part of Kosyk’s poems dealing with nature. In the context of all of Kosyk’s writings it is probably this cycle that might be considered to be epigonal to some extent. The epigonality is to be seen not in the context of tUpper Sorbian literature but rather in the context of German literature. This is most evident in the cases where Kosyk translates German songs into Lower Sorbian. In the text collection Wěnk serbskich spiwanjow za našu młoźinu of the 20 texts translated by Kosyk 8 belong here and it is thus the most important part. But even in original texts one is often reminded of German parallels, be it in formulaic expressions (Złotne słyńco = güldene Sonne, golden sun), in metaphors
Ptaški tyrlikaju, Nowy woblak zas
Bogu chwalbu daju (Nalětne wjasele SMK 1: 214) zemja dostanjo (Zymje zachada SMK 1: 212)
in the personifcation of nature:
Złotne piletka, Cośo wše se wot nas minuś
moje jagnjetka, njebja spiwarje? (K nazymu SMK 1: 236)
źijśo, źijśo na pastwu,
tergajśo tam we chłodku (Piletka SMK 1: 227)
or in complete poems (Kukawa, SMK 1: 224, as compared to Kuckuck, Kuckuck, tönt’s aus dem Wald). These parallels impair the artistic impact in some of the texts. On the other hand, there are most remarkable poems in this cycle, e.g. Wuseśe (The seed).
Zernko, lažyš wusete Seed, sown out you’re lying there,
z milnej zemju pokšyte. The earth your cover, you’re not bare.
Stawaś buźoš kšasnje zas, Rise you will in beauty all,
zbuźijo śi godny cas: Awakened by the summer’s call.
z tebu lažy naźeja. With you there lies our hope.
Wětšy pśidu šćipate, The winds they blow, come howling through,
kenž śi zemju wopšosće. They prepare the ground for you.
Spi we běłym łožyšćku, So slumber on in your white bed,
zymje pśejźo nad tebu, Let winter pass by o’er your head
žednje njespi naźeja. Never sleep will o’ercome hope.
Słyńco swěśi z lubosću, The sun does shine with love so strong,
wubuźijo setwu wšu. Wakens seed that slept so long.
"Wono buźi!" zaznějo, The call is simply: “Let there be!”
Njedrěmaj wěc zerncycko, Now sleep no more, seed, you can see:
k naźeji jo naźeja. One may hope for hope.
Lej, se kšasnje zeleniš, Behold, you change to pretty green,
wutšobu mě zwjaseliš; Delight my heart when this is seen.
aj, juž kłosack zjawijoš, And here you set the first ears free
a se kradu wotzamknjoš; And open them right up for me:
dopołna jo naźeja! (SMK 1: 215) It is finished in hope.
As far as the formal aspect is concerned most of these texts consist of short lines that sometimes are made up of two accents per line only, cf. Zymje w błośe, SMK 1: 240, Zymje zachada, SMK 1: 212, or
Słynco zasej grějo, Bomy zakwituju, Ptaški tyrlikaju,
wšykno wotžywjejo struski zawonjuju; Bogu chwalbu daju;
a jo zbuźone; wšo jo zelene, wšuźi žywjenje,
wšuźi wjasele. wšuźi wjasele. wšuźi wjasele. (SMK 1: 214)
This extreme compression is only the continuation of a tendency already observed elsewhere but it sometimes leaves the impression of overly simplistic poetry. Together with the effect of déja` entendu in comparison to German poetry this impairs an unbiased evaluation of Kosyk’s poetry in this area.
Serbskich duchow kněžarstwo is devoted to historical or legendary topics, on the one hand, and to the world of mythical spirits, on the other hand. Both stem from oral tradition. Through these texts Kosyk documents the independent historical and cultural tradition of the Sorbs. The influence of the young Sorbian movement is unmistakable here as well.
The historical and legendary poems suggest a comparison to the historical trilogy. As a matter of fact there are quite striking parallels. The poems in this cycle may in general be dated to the same period as the historical trilogy (1881/82). On the other hand, both of them speak of the former glory of the Sorbian people. In both cases the memory is evoked by a particular genius loci. Finally both of them link the past to the present or even the future. Within this cycle this is most evident in texts such as Ten serbski kral (SMK 1: 300), Čornobóh (SMK 1: 249), Serbski Barbarossa (SMK 1: 321), Na groźišću w Błotach (SMK 1: 298).
The poems devoted to the world of spirits are most typical for the Błota, on the one hand (cf. especially the stories of nymphs and water sprites), and also to Sorbian spirits, on the other hand (Pśezpołdnica, Žiwica, Lutk). In spite of the specific local atmosphere parallels to German texts are unmistakable. Nyks a golack (SMK 1: 254) is related to Goethe’s poem Erlkönig, Błudna njewjesta (SMK 1: 279) has parallels to Bürger’s Lenore. In both cases, however, just as in the case of Na drogi! it is evident that Kosyk is merely inspired by such texts; his poems are new creations.
As far as the form of the poems is concerned some of them resemble the trilogy (ottava rima or similar structures: Źiwica a Wodny muž, SMK 1: 256, Pśělnica na mjasecu, SMK 1: 281, Na lože do smjerśi, SMK 1: 277). Partly they are closer to folk poetry and folk-song.
Cysta roža serbojska contains Kosyk’s «love poems». They make up but a small part of his poetic writings. Most remarkable is a melancholy, resignative mood to be discerned in almost all of these texts. Even the two exceptions that express a rather positive mood, Anka, ta roža and «Jo», are unable to steer clear from this:
Kśěł śi stawnje wiźeś,
ja kśěł žałowaś,
gaž coš skoro wokwisć,
gaž se zegibaś. (SMK 2: 15)
A coš mě twoju gubku daś,
moj pošk zas z poškom zarownaś?
Groń jo, groń jo, groń jo, groń jo -
pon naju lubosć njezajźo.
Lej lubka »jo« mě rjaknušo
a wutšobu mě zranišo.
To słowko »jo« mě zwjaseli
a zas ze śěžu napołni. (SMK 2: 13)
It is typical of this resignative mood that love fails to reach fulfilment (maybe this is not even intended). Instead it is content to dream of a happy end. The texts are thus rather abstract and reserved. This is even true in the few cases where the loved one is addressed directly:
tak wjele raz śi spominam
a z mojich myslow njepušćam. ...
O kśěła cysta zawostaś,
pon cu śi stawnje spominaś. (Spominanje SMK 2: 11)
Ja śi stawnje njasu,
w mojich myslenjach;
Ja śi wobrukuju,
w nocnych cowanjach; (Anka, ta roža, SMK 2: 14)
Njepłac, ja z wocyma
wšuźi śi pasu,
njepłac, wše myslenja
moje śi njasu. (Troštowanje syroty, SMK 2: 31)
In other texts distance is created by the fact that they are written from a completely different perspective. Most often it is the bride’s view that is presented.
Thematically Kosyk’s «love poems» are connected with other parts of his poetic writings: with nature (especially the plant world), with home (Błota), and (strangely enough, but most typical of Kosyk) with death. There are even texts linking all of these areas: The flower must die to serve as an adornment for the bride (Njewjesta a kwětašk, SMK 2: 26), the grieving bride throws flower wreaths into the Spree river in remembrance of the bridegroom, who drowned (Ta wěrna lubka na rěce, SMK 2: 18), the head adornment for the wedding is transformed into a death wreath because the bride dies in the night before the wedding (Prědny hupac, SMK 2: 24). Texts that deal with the topic of love exclusively are almost inexistent in Kosyk’s poetry.
Two cycles in the Werben period are exclusively made up of texts devoted to religious themes. The first of these, Pytajcy duch, brings together three poems written in distichs: Ten kśicowany, Źo jo Bog? and Helestupjenje Jezusa Kristusa (Kosyk 1993: 44-54). Most likely they are amongst the earliest texts Kosyk wrote since Źo jo Bog? was already published in a first variant in 1878. Similarly the cycle Wostań pobožny contains texts from the early part of the Werben period but it leads up to the very end of Kosyk’s life in Germany. It continues the line of thinking of the previous cycle. Part of the cycle is made up of translations of songs that were sung in school. There is an obvious parallel here to Kosyk’s revision of the hymnal. A last group of poems within this cycle is of a rather intimate nature. Here Kosyk expresses his religious beliefs in a very personal fashion. He sets out from his own experience, trying to understand it in the framework of Christian faith, and thus to give it additional meaning. This is especially evident in poems where he tries to come to grips with the experience of death (Sotśicka, Njezmilnosć smjerśi).
In the cycle W cuzej zemi Kosyk reflects on the «cultural shock» he was confronted with upon coming to the New World. He does so in various ways. In a first group of poems he indulges in nostalgia: His longing to be back in Lusatia is the only topic of these texts. They continue a thematic line that originated in the Werben period. But then it was prompted by his experience of being away from the Błota in 1873 to 1877 (cf. the cycle We paradizu wot wšych swětow). The difference to these earlier texts lies in the fact that the new surroundings are not only the negative background for his melancholic musings. The new surroundings are described rather carefully and they may even acquire a positive meaning. In his earlier texts the foreign surroundings were always rather amorphous, now they are very real; cf. the texts Požedanje za domom (around 1878) and W cuzej zemi (1883):
Požedanje za domom W cuzej zemi
Wutšoba, co sy tak tužna? Ako mějach kšute spodki Ak mě dachu noclěg prědny
Cogodla se styska mi? skońcnje pod nogoma raz w napołnjonej gospoze,
Rědnje ga jo w cuzem raju, a pon zwignuch swoje lodki, źož mnjo pśimje carnak bědny
Wutšoba, co śěžy śi? ab kraj pśedrogował zas, z naźeju na pjenjeze,
zacuwach bźez wědobnja, zacuwach bźez wědobnja,
Co mě jo? mě jo tak śěžko,až how njejo domizna: až how njebźo domizna:
Som how kradu spušćona! Běch źe w cuzej zemi. Budu w cuzej zemi.
Rědnje wšak jo w cuzem raju,
Zemja pak njej woścojska.Ak běch pytnuł rězne zukiLěc se zemja cuza zdawa,
pijanego yankeea, kenž mě kšuśe powita,
Kśěła rad hyś k domnym polam, grozecego z rjagom ruki glichlan wěm, až buźo pšawa
Źož běch wobglucona raz; wšomu, což se pśibliža, moja nowa fryjota.
Kśěła k nanu, kśěła k maśi, zacuwach bźez wědobnja, Zacuwam bźez wědobnja
Kśěła k chłodnym Błotam zas! až how njejo domizna: lichy se wot spinanja
(1930 6) Źěch po cuzej zemi. how w tej cuzej zemi. (1983, 26)
Another group of poems lacks the reference to Lusatia completely and concentrates on describing the New World. Examples of this are Pod pomnikom A. Lincolna (Kosyk 1983: 27), Carne źiśi pod godownym bomom (Kosyk 1983: 29), or Mississippi (Kosyk 1983: 36). Such poems are completely absent from the writings of the Werben period. It must be said, however, that they are not very numerous in this cycle as well.
Serbske bratśi pśistupimy is basically made up of texts that belong to Kosyk’s second American period. The initiator for Kosyk’s renewed poetic activity was B. Šwjela as the representative of Lower Sorbian students. Obviously Kosyk was attracted by the thought that he might influence youth through his poetry. The poems of this period stand in the tradition of the preceding periods but they are also enriched by new elements. The continuity in the tradition is especially visible on the formal level. There are very few changes in this area. A new element, however, can be discerned in some of the earliest texts of this period, viz. a kind of appellative poetry. A first step in this direction can be found in an early text, Gjardy fryjaŕ:
Wukni z takeje basnicki,
Puchota niźer se njechwali,
Serbski a nimski njej jadna rěc,
Kněski a burski jo dwojaka wěc,
Ponižnje fryjuj a po serbsku,
Coš-li měś chwalobnu gospozu. (Kosyk 1929: 51)
The most impressive examples of this tendency can be found in texts that elaborate Sorbian patriotic themes. Examples of this are Serbski zlub (Kosyk 1893: 47) and Serbstwo za Atlantom (Kosyk 1893: 4). Both are intertextually related to a poem by Handrij Zejler (the foremost Upper Sorbian poet), Serbow narodny spěw. The first of these texts has the same formal structure as Zejler’s poem. This makes it possible to sing the text to the same tune. The second text takes up the first line from Zejler’s poem (this line in turn goes back to the then inofficial Polish «national anthem» Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła), but aside from this there are very few formal or thematic parallels. Both texts call upon Lusatia’s children (or sons) to stand together.
Serbstwo za atlantom Serbski zlub
Serbske bratśi, pśistupijmy ...
Weto bratśi wostanjomy, Zwěrne syny Łužycy
Źiś´i sławnej’ Łužyce; Až do rowa wostanjomy,
Morja wšak su ludam kšomy, Našo derbstwo šćitujmy,
Bratšojstwo pak njeźěle. (Kosyk 1893: 4) Stopy njecopnjomy. (Kosyk 1893: 47)
Another example of appellative poetry is Wjasele (Kosyk 1893: 46). In this case, however, the Sorbian patriotic element is lacking.
In order to explain this unexpected appearance of appellative poetry it seems reasonable to refer to the motivation that prompted Kosyk to start writing again. There are two reasons for this. It may be assumed that Šwjela’s proposal came as a positive surprise for Kosyk in two ways. First of all, he felt flattered that he was not forgotten back home and secondly he was happy to learn that there was a cultural movement in Lower Lusatia again. On the other hand, several positive changes in his personal life (marriage 1890, birth of the only son 1899, active participation in the founding of a new Synod 1890, activity in an area where he often met Sorbian emigrants 1889-1895) might have changed his melancholy basic mood. Other texts of the same period, however, show that this change was only temporary; cf. Popajźony spiwarik, where Kosyk describes his situation in drastic words:
Spiwarik bu łapjony A bird was caught in nature free,
A do klětki zawrjety, Put in a cage, locked up to see.
Nuzkany bu k spiwanju Forced he was to sing to all
W snadnem šmojtem domcyku. From his new den so dark, so small.
Ptašack pak se tužašo, The bird, alas, was struck with grief.
Głowka jomu wisašo; He hung his head, found no relief.
Błotka su jom’ wezeli, The Błotka thus they took from him,
Z towariškow wunjasli. Estranged him from his friends by whim.
Z tśikotom jan’ płakašo When chirping he in truth did weep,
Samotniwe ptašacko; Entranced in loneliness so steep.
Złamaś co se wutšoba, His heart was wont to break, I fear,
Gaž won spiwa na Błotka. When singing of his Błotka dear.
Ja som ak to ptašacko I am just like this lonely bird,
W cuzej zemi daloko, Away in foreign lands unheard.
O ja zgubich Łužycu, Oh yes, I lost Lusatia dear;
Mojog’ njebja kšasotu. My heaven’s charm is no more here.
(Kosyk 1893: 19)
The period ends with texts that return to the melancholy mood so typical for Kosyk. It is highly symbolic that the last printed text (1899) bears the title Droga k njebju (The Road to Heaven, Kosyk 1930: 74).
The lost cycle, Droga k njebju, contains mostly texts from his third American period. It can be divided into three parts.
In the first part, Njamoc swoju wuzgonim, the poems speak of Kosyk’s life in America. They may take the form of a description of nature or of people (e.g. Indianka, Kosyk 1930: 9, Cyclone, Kosyk 1930: 20-21). But they may also be reflections on his life in the United States (e.g. Albion, Kosyk 1983: 51, Rozpominanje, Kosyk 1983: 51). This is a new element in his poetry. If seen in the context of his writings as a whole, however, it is only the continuation of his melancholy remembrance of the past that can be met with elsewhere (especially in Źiśecy raj, We paradizu wot wšych swětow, Cysta roža serbojska, We cuzej zemi). It seems that the United States (or at least some places in this country) had acquired the status of a secondary home for Kosyk in the course of time. The difference between the secondary and the primary home lies in the fact that the primary home is seen as a unreal mirage never to be attained whereas the secondary home only evokes sad memories or is seen as a waiting room for death.
Co wabi? Albion
Co wabi moju wutšobu Což mě wěžo na toś ten flak zemje, to jano jo row.
pśez morjo do Łužyce, Jadnučkem lubemu synoju w tužycy stworjony schow.
co buźi we mnjo tužycu, ....
gaž wence ptaški šwice? A weto - gaž słyńco smali a pari
a gaž nocna kurjawa w samośe šari,
Mě wabi raja źiśetstwa gaž tužycy moje myslenja nari,
a gluki spominanje, se změrowaś njedajo maśerna pina,
kenž mucnem starcu pomaga, wěm wěsće, až pśisud ten gorki mě spina
jom posći spodobanje. (Kosyk 1983: 53) a wěžo śim wěcej stawnje a zas,
ab tuder raz pśetrał žywjenja cas. (Kosyk 1983: 51)
The second part, Se poklěknu, is decidedly religious, one might even say christological. A central position is occupied by redemption and the Redeemer. A part of the poems form a kind of „Jesus-cycle“: Jezus, ta droga; Jezus, ta wěrnosć; Jezus, to žywjenje; Jezus, ten dobry pastyŕ; Jezus, swětło swěta (Jesus the Way, Jesus the Truth, Jesus - Life, Jesus the Good Shepherd, Jesus the Light of the World; all of 1926, Kosyk 1930: 84-92). This cycle is continued by a group of poems devoted to Lent and Holy Week: Gethsemane, Golgatha, Dopołnjone jo (It Is Fulfilled) (all 1927, Kosyk 1930: 94-96); Kśica Jezusa (The Cross of Jesus) (Kosyk 1930: 96-97); Slědne jatšy (The Last Easter) (1928, Kosyk 1930: 99). The last text in this part is the hexametric poem Jezus (1928), that elaborates on Kosyk’s understanding of Jesus.
Jezus Kristus, syn Božy a wumožnik zgubjoneg swěta ... (1)
Won, togo swěta swětło jo zbuźił ten źeń togo strowja ... (9)
Jezus jo teke ten gojc we brachach śěła a duše ... (18)
Jezus jo teke ten prjatkaŕ, to zjawjenje Boga, to słowo ... (32)
Weto jo Jezus syn Božy a wumožnik zgubjoneg swěta, (64) (Kosyk 1930: 81-84)
Both formally and thematically this poem brings Kosyk back to his early religious writings (especially Ten kśicowany) that also used a classical metre to praise the Redeemer.
Many poems in this part of the cycle are exegetical and they are highly reminiscent of sermons. Often the Biblical passage underlying the poem is quoted. This creates the impression that Kosyk wrote these texts in order to serve his people and to preach to them in their language. This genre (sermon in poetic form) represents a completely new development in his religious writings and is typical of the last period. There are other texts that might be suitable for a church service as well (e.g. Pokutna modlitwa (Prayer of Repentance) 1927, Kosyk 1930: 80-81).
The third part, Se domoj pśecej požedam, contains texts devoted to the lost home. Such texts can be found in earlier cycles as well. The innovation in the last poems of this period is the certainty that this home is lost forever and above all the consequence that the poet now turns to his future home after death. This development is evident in the poems Zasejwiźenje w domiznje (1928) in the way the last lines of each stanza are worded differently:
Lěc budu ja na zemi raz Ja žednje wěc njebudu zas Ja budu te starjejše zas Gaž wiźim te starjejše zas
Te starjejše wiźeś zas? Te starjejše wiźeś raz. Tam na njebju wiźeś raz! We njebjaskej kšasy raz.
(Kosyk 1930: 120-121)
Obviously this is a development along the lines of „Longing for home – Certainty that this longing will not be fulfilled – Looking forward to the future home after death“. This development can be seen in texts from different American periods.
Zymje na brjogach Michigan-morja
Bog, moj Bog, daj wiźeś jano Łoźicka, raz donjasoš mě
Hyšći raz mě domiznu, K domiznje tam podzajtša.
Tam mě śěgnjo wšuderkano, Naźeja, ty mocujoš mě,
Wšudy na nju spomnjeju. – Gaž se styska wutšoba. 1884 (Kosyk 1930: 21-22)
Popajźony spěwarik (see above)
Źěk za postrow z Błotow
Tog žywjenja lěta mě minu se,
pak lubosć k domiznje njewoteběra,
cu wšednje spominaś na tebje,
až lagnu se spat do slědnego měra. 1930 (Kosyk 1983: 57)
Considered as a whole Kosyk obviously strives towards a synthesis in his last period. Various thematic groups are increasingly brought closer to each other and are eventually all seen sub æternitatis specie. This way of looking at the world is dictated by thematic considerations in the religious part, Se poklěknu. In the other parts it represents a completely new development.