What’s in the air,
What’s in the air?”
It is the eternal question that opens, closes, and weaves together Adam Mickiewicz’s Part II of Forefathers: “What’s in the air? What’s in the air?”
What is in the air in Mickiewicz’s poem is a series of spirits. To the audience, they reveal the human wisdom that in death, we cannot undo what has been done in life. Nor can we mask who we truly are forever.
To many, the story of who we are and where we came from is also incredibly significant. I come from a long Polish folk tradition of celebration, honor, and prayer for our ancestors around this time of the year, and so did Mickiewicz. In Poland, his name is lauded like Shakespeare’s is in England or Goethe’s is in Germany. But more than filling a great role as a national bard, he is also a praised national icon. Perhaps it is because of his innate ability to breathe life into literature by creating and introducing new ideas in with age-old human musings. The excellent translation by Geoffrey Wladyslaw Vaile Potocki de Montalk certainly transports Mickiewicz’s world especially well during Halloween. I can remember becoming mesmerized by his poetry as a youth in Poland. I would be so wrapped in his beautiful world of romantic poetry, so completely mystified by the variety of subjects and different forms of literature in which he wrote, that I would read the poems aloud to myself. Only when my family clapped at the end was I brought back to reality.
In this world of endless material bliss and continuing technological advancement, many people search for a spiritual fulfillment. Here, Mickiewicz’s poetry not only delivers a spiritual inspiration, it also encourages us to slow down, to breathe in creative energy. So please, enjoy the show! Experience the wondrous, mystical world of Poland and our communities on the eve of All Saint’s Day!
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