Zofia Bałdyga

5 new poems


We live a stone’s throw from the west. Like in the movies, whatever the change is.
The sky changes colour: battered, unbeaten, its green turning violet
yellow bile all over us. A plane cuts the screen at a prearranged point:

women and children with their faces on the floor, men returning years later.
They hold bottles filled with petrol, their heads high. Even, but without vocals.
They mistake hunger for desire, transparent they spit pips from the most recent spring.

The count off does not end before sunrise. Illnesses put out into the corridor.
As long as you remember to touch, wash your hands. Extinguish your heart in rusty water.
You will dream of christenings, I’ll dream of a gold tooth. Sand will fill the swellings.

It’s warm and dry and bright. No new life will come of arid things.
We live a stone’s throw from the west, let’s then not wake.
We forget in any given order while dreams come once the night is done.


I will show you a dance, but it will not be rhythmical.
High heels over socks so as it doesn’t hurt.
There I will tell you where I am from, what sort of fairytale.

I am from a place in the event and you know there are no symbols there.
We sit around a fire: broken matches in our pockets,
lighters in a bra the colour of one’s eyes, turquoise and emerald
but where is the sapphire and the amaranth.

More than enough material for long skirts, not enough
to cover a roof: let’s not have the flammable covering our skies.
In case of danger, babe, you’ll put me in the ground.
Small steps take you towards the wall.
Dirty fingers poking the dragon’s eye.

side window

The hero lacks features and comes across as absent.
I remember those eyes glowing in the dark, running away
backwards, what was I meant to do, this is no country for girls
this perfumed flat-footed fatherland. You won’t believe

where in this heap of dirt that glowing blonde
appearing out of nowhere pops up on an alien tongue
old and from far flung places, ill-equipped to deal with  local
diseases of the time of peace and the lilly-flavoured tobacco smoke.

The barefoot heroine is crossing a stranger’s garden. Fur and bare legs.
She was quite white in that fur like skin on hot milk, you won’t quite believe.
You won’t believe, because the wind has scattered the interiors. On the other side of the sky
a hole will form. That’s where we’ll find one another.


A woman dies on the hour,.
Out of windows we see the previously described station
as in family and architectural albums.

A woman tells of how far her loved ones had to go
and who was watching their step, I don’t remember
which war was yours, the green or the blue?
And they chewed bubble gum, the bubbles bursting under the weight
not flying far, falling beneath apple trees, dear sunshine.

A woman screaming, the man did say
run that way, and you constantly up those dark alleys
late night shop barbers not for you
these small states, strangers’ gardens
where walnut trees drink blood

The woman talking in her sleep. Dreaming of memory, this river
she sees whole. And sugar in dreams is sweeter, right up until morning
she will hold it in her mouth. In dreams she will remember to die.


Foreign countries welcome us with downpours and a plate of cold starters.
We are walking down an alley. Trees lined up in a hedge full of green cats.
We point to them with fingers deprived of nails.
Dust settling on the sky. Narrow lines of distribution, gestures count.

Place your open palm on the table. Far from blades.
I foresee a great future for you, the red Gypsy shimmering
along with the underground river which carries blue letters
back to the sea.  In the centre a blot

buried treasure. Take charge, Zofia
and hold me tight. Lead me across the desert
forty foreign daughters sowing forget-me-nots.
Hold me tight, come home before they call curfew.

read the original poems in Polish/English here

Zofia Bałdyga, 1987, Warsaw. Author of the volumes “Passe-partout” (Warszawa 2006) and “Współgłoski” ( Nowa Ruda 2010). Co-creates the poetry & music project Elektroliryka. Currently mastering in Western and Southern Slavonic Studies at the University of Warsaw. Her poems have also been translated into Czech, Swedish and Ukrainian. Her work can be read on wwww.literackie.pl.

Zofia Bałdyga, 1987, Warszawa. Autorka tomików „Passe-partout” (Warszawa 2006) i „Współgłoski” ( Nowa Ruda 2010). Współtworzy poetycko-muzyczny projekt Elektroliryka. Studentka slawistyki zachodniej i południowej UW. Jej wiersze przełożone zostały na czeski, szwedzki i ukraiński. Prowadzi stronę autorską w serwisie wwww.literackie.pl.