He broadened the borders of my playground,
conquered all and all of them, even the bad’uns
from the bad ends, which served as conkers
in times when games were still just games –
needing no rules or playfulness.
I only ever cried when
we buried our first dog,
at my grandparents’ allotment,
which burnt down soon after –
Six poems by Agnieszka Mirahina translated for the first time into English for the 3:AM Maintenant series by Maciek Markowski and SJ Fowler.
Agnieszka Mirahina is a Polish poet, born in 1985. Her collections include the critically-acclaimed Radiowidmo (Radiophantom) (2009). She lives in Wroclaw where she studied Russian and Polish philology.
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, June 13th, 2010.- click on image to read them…
this must be my day of birth
eyes wide open nanny get gone
no more suckling at any breast
no chance for taking backwards steps
and so I snatch at my pen so fragile
the one always needs tying down with chains
else it’ll tear it’ll kick and it’ll howl
though I am a poet please live and let live
for God for me for you
why muddy the self struggle in the dirt
why hike cross town on a bus in the freezing cold
when a friendly hand will help you just write
this must be my day of birth
a wild cur chasing me through town
no more clutching at stones
my fault in it somewhere too
I see Cerberus approaching
his mouth watering gnawing consuming
he who guards the border between men and beasts
the Styx runs with water, the world just full of itself
a cover and a title and a font
we play chess though you know nothing of the throne
you wanted to dance, and have danced, and now need to shut your mouth
this train rides on, its wheels blazing, smoke and sparks
this must be my day of birth
a cricket playing his fiddle for an age now
the shadow of melody swaying slow
hanging as if it were a stolen verse
weaving and cutting and pasting
after all, even a toy can be the form in question
all we have in anthologies every single friend and foe
we’re in charge while you only have your God
you only have silence on your side
so don’t dither round yourself up in unions
and pay dues and clap hands emigrate form a club
it wasn’t poetry the poet married today
and so to live and labour and lounge
yet all I have to do – is write
you can take rob hide or simply burn to the ground
though no one can strip the poet’s taste in rhymes.
Paweł Gawroński Born in 1982. Following a quiet childhood, in a village near Włocławek, the capital of the Kujawy region, Pawel has always been busy writing, both poetry and prose. First published in May 2005, though in June of same year unfortunately had to leave Poland. His current residence is in the UK, where he struggles to continue his literary existence.
Paweł Gawroński Urodziłem się 5 października 1982 roku. Dzieciństwo spędzałem spokojnie, na wsi polskiej położonej niedaleko stolicy Kujaw-Włocławka. Od najmłodszych lat wiązałem swoje życie z pisaniem, czy to prozy, czy poezji. Zaowocowało to debiutem w maju 2005 roku. W czerwcu tej samej wiosny musiałem musiałem niestety opuścić kraj, stąd moja obecność na wyspie, gdzie staram się kontynuować zamiłowania literackie.
in an old bookshop, I bought
a collection of Szymborska’s poems from 1972 in any case
between pages eight and nine
between error and impressions from a play
a grey label
from a cotton shirt
made in england St. Michael
for a child up to 10 years old Read the rest of this entry »
A step or two east, or west, and all you see changes…
Who can, resting, slowly turn their confusion to clarity? Tao-Te-King
2006 -10 -01
Slowly, I am learning the streets of Ryde by heart. The nooks and the crannies of this town creep beneath my skin and into my irises. Some days, I wake at midnight and could swear voices speaking Polish are floating up from the street.
I was joking when I said that, in my altered state, I feel like Emanuel Swedenborg. I feel closer to ghosts than to the living. Daily thoughts escape me of late, same as my breasts evade my bra: engorged and pregnant with possibility. My dreams peopled with the dead. They come in the form of sedum shrubs, flower-people in stiff suits speckled with wax, wearing linen robes. Hanging above, trying to enter me, root by root. I recall other fragments of dream: indigo light from a gas lamp, a wooden tub filled with suds.
Here I am. Seeking love and peace.
For many years, I have been wandering dug up streets
and that which I see as the world probably is my world,
that which I feel as life – life is
though that’s nothing certain. Read the rest of this entry »
Today is the 21st of April. One month until the opening of the FESTA FATUORUM festival in Gniezno. Over 140 poets have already sent in work for the competition which closes on the 1st of May. More is to come.
The jurors from Zeszyty Poetyckie will then then have seven days in which to choose the list of finalists. On the 7th of May, they will send me the best 20-30 entries. They will also invite the short-listed poets to be at the FESTA FATUORUM festival in Gniezno, opening on the 21st of May, where the ultimate winner will be announced.
On the 8th of May, I will set off on a two week journey around Poland (plane tickets already booked). Just me, my video camera and a bag of poems. As I travel around, I will film everything I see and translate the poems. I will also try and visit as many Polish poets as I can.
Muses willing, I will arrive in Gniezno for the opening of FESTA FATUORUM, where I will film the festival, interview the poets I will have been translating, then head back to London to edit the film and finalise the translations.
The translations will then appear in two separate volumes of poetry – the collected anthology of 20-30 poets (3-5 poems each) and the winning poet’s own individual collection. The film of my trip of discovery will then be given away free on DVD with every copy of the two books (which will be available separately or as a twin set).
in fly-like sticky tango of sweet trickles
I sieve chitinous light through the slits of hundreds of eyes
lightly ever so lightly I am taken by persistent buzzing is it only with me after all ah all right I will bring you breakfast
(not that I would go blindly into the fire. but his
ratio of muscle to hair is quite so so) I think
Ornithologists say white-feathered pigeons are masters of survival
While I was giving a reading in Chicago, Jan 28th at 5 pm, the roof
of the pigeon exhibit in Chorzów, Poland collapsed under the weight
of snow. 63 people died. Słowo nie zagruchotało. To tylko dach
gruchnął. An iridescent audience on air. Archangels Barbs Homers
Frillbacks Laughers Modenas Nuns Orliks. Read the rest of this entry »
The names of Danish towns now names of carpets, rugs,
and what’s worse the joint (Swedish) ØRESUND strait
is now a toilet seat. Your blackmail cost me three Swedish
bowls at Sunday discount, two sleepless nights on the
four-post OSLO. Did they name their floor coverings