In the first episode of the #PolishCultureKatchUp series we invite you to a very special poetry reading session.
Poet and translator of classic Polish poetry Anita Dębska Jones has chosen and translated five beautiful Polish pieces that bring hope and light to these dark times, with short introductions specifically for the #PolishCultureKatchUp.
We asked The Twelfth Night’s and #WeAreArrested’s actor Peter Hamilton Dyer to record a short video in which he reads Anita’s selection. You can watch it below or via our social media channels.
You can find Anita Dębska Jones’ selection and give it a second read below, what are your favourite Polish poems?
Our household (O naszym gospodarstwie), Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński (1905-53)
O green Constantine, o silver Natalie,
Your supper’s a jug of lily-of-the-valley.
Around the jug there goes a gnome with a halberd,
His beard is grey but smeared and stained with mustard.
It seems he’s eaten well, but you on dreams must dine,
O green Natalie, o silver Constantine.
Rose (Róża), Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (1891-1945)
In this faded park where no-one goes
by an overblown rose I stand alone.
Only we two to witness beauty,
I hers and she my own.
There was nothing between us (Między nami nic nie było), Adam Asnyk (1839-97)
There was nothing between us, no,
Nothing said, not a thing.
There was nothing to bind us together,
Save the deceiving spring.
Save the fragrance and the colour,
The glimmer and the sheen.
The rustle of the forest,
And the meadow’s fresh green.
Save the waterfalls and brooks
Thar sprinkled crag and dell,
The wreaths of cloud and rainbow,
Nature’s own sweet spell.
Save the shared spring of delight
That through our hearts did flow,
Save the primrose and the bindweed,
There was nothing between us, no.
The sky at night (Niebo w nocy), Leopold Staff (1878-1957)
Black night, silver night,
World without end
In time and space.
In the middle the Milky Way.
Who passes over it?
That passes human understanding.
Clear unclear (Jasne niejasne), Julia Hartwig (1921-17)
The most ardent feelings
do not give birth to the best poems
or the best music
or the finest pictures
and yet without them
nothing would come into being
you don’t count as you write
but everything is counted
you don’t hide away
but you are hidden
you don’t put yourself on show
but you are seen and recognised
You must admit
there’s something unclear in this