Cherries Are Gone – From Reviews

„Cherries Are Gone…”, USA 2011

From the volume ‘A touch of truth’ (2002)

Truth ouside door

Truth stands beyond threshold
Wrapped in veil
Fragile uncertainty

Ofter trembles shrinking
Blushes embarrassed
For her being lonely

Sometimes she rebels
Flings the door open
Marches into drawing rooms
Violently banning falsehood

But nobody listens
Dwarfed greatnesses looking up

Truth is a myth
Truth is relative
Truth is a lie

The truth returns

To the corner
Beyond threshold
Out of doors

Until it dies…
And then
The world will come apart…

To Aphrodite

Island of love
Without love
Or reconciliation

Divided by barbed wire
Split asunder by lifeless
Nobody’s land

Goddess of love of gods and humans alike
Here you emerged from the sea spume
Here is your myrtle and dove

Gaze into your mirror
Remember your island
Take it in your care
Protect from those erring in feuds

Or else crowds
Will adore you no more
Desert sanctuaries
Destroy the three rocks of love

And your timeless graces
Though irresistible
Will wither like flowers
In Adonis’ gardens

Cyprus, April 2000

The Queen of the Crown of Poland

Hands folded in prayers
Without the Child
In precious dress
Shining day and night

Mother of God Queen of Poland’s crown
miracle famous, beloved
listening into the great past
of brilliance and martyrdom

symbol of Wilno in Ostra Brama
guarding gates
distinguished and beautiful stones
of the timeless ‘Ode to Youth’

invaders bowed to her
kings and saints kneeling
sung by poets
of different faiths

offered countless vota
richly surrounding her brilliance

Holy Mother I thank you for Wilno
For freedom…
For the son…
Thank yoy…

Wilnus, May 2000u


Family heirloom
On drawingroom wall

Controls my time
Striking ever louder

Hours, half-hours
Ever shorter
Running faster and faster

I wish the forefathers’ gift
Went wrong
And bequeathed to me
His time

So that no one would measure out anything for me
Or affect my fate
So that I could flee from the clock…

November 2000

Our House

Twenty years now

Happy but not tearless
Prosperous but not without needs
Lively but sometimes grave-dead

Our house
Is ourselves
Souls of


You nestled tonight
In my sleeping palm

Full of pain

I didn’t withdraw my hand

I heard your
rapid heartbeat

it became


in our sleep
our hearts beat in tune
and I dreamed
that inside me two bells
were pealing….

16 December 2000

The scent of conifer needles

Through hoarfrosted windowpane
I see father
Wading through Mazurian snowdrifts
Lugging a large firtree

Now it’s you
who bring me the green tree
of the same scent

I hold the aroma
Within myself
All year round

As Christmas Eve
Christmas carols

God is Born…

December 2000


You race


You race

Not loving
Not giving
Not thanking


To nowhere…

May 2001

Wood Cottages

Grown into earth
Huddled among alien villas

Hiding rot-wood planks
Sometimes dentured windows
Doors askew
Rusty rainpipes

Wooden cottages feel shame
Over their age

For that they shrink
Get stunted

Burdened by new world

They move onto
Nostalgic canvass of ainters
To skansens
For eternal reminiscences

May 2001

Our Childhood

To sister Grazia

Our childhood
Aroma of wild raspberries
Discovered admiringly
In wood undergrowth

The pulse of Mazurian soil
The silvery ripple of waves
Walks with firtrees
Autumn palette on hills

Our childhood
Precipitous snowdrifts
Easily swallowing
Into cold vacuum of
Snowy body

The joy of spring
Appletree by the window
Most glorious bouquet
Of orchard entering into room

Our childhood
Our good mother
At her chores
Steady care on her forehead

And fluffy cakes
The gift from her
Busy hands

July 2001

Storks Flew Away

I noticed today
A dead nest
Watching over a Mazovian village

I was with them since spring
From below peeped at their clatter
Birth of triplets
Maternity under wings

Admired the care for the young
Their standing on their own
Strengthening wings against wind
Until a flight from the nest on high

Storkies bid goodbye to August meadows
Still in green
The sky growing chilly
But still sunny

Blessed by the roadside shrine…

Goodbye summer
Goodbye storkies
in springtime again
you’ll bring me happiness…

August 2001

September 11th


Turned into apocalypse
Heavy volcanic clouds
Of wounded history

Into agony
Awful tomb for lives


Born from man’s fall
From paradise
Lost forever

11 September 2001

Their Whisper

When remories were invoked
Evil powers whirled again
Heavens frowned
Black on the trees extended hands

With the striker of bell
September leaves were shed
Like tears of those put to death
Of fatherland expiring

Whisper of leaves
Sprouted from Them
In colours

When you are here
It hurts less…

And again…

Oh Lord
Never again
To the red seal of
Hammer and sickle…

Cemetery of Victims of Stalinism
near Kharkiv, 17 September 2002

‘With the Nightingale in Heart’ (2004)

When Lilac Blossoms Fall

When lilac blossoms fall
Hope wanes

For nightingale in heart
The May litany to Virgin
A new encounter

And again we crave
Another May
The violet of tufts
A new hope

It’s always worthwhile
To await fresh flowers

24 May 2003

Longing after Fears
For Mum

So many fears within me
In childhood

Of trampling on small frogs
So plentiful in Mazury
Mostly after rain

Of falling off the bike
Right into nettles
And sharp turns were many

That in a stream wading away from crayfish
I’ll swallow too much water

That in lush grass I’ll squash
Flowers juicy wild raspberry
Or frighten a sunny butterfly

Today I can only dream about bygone fears
Trying to start them anew
Buth they floated away with my shore…

25 October 2003

Love at Daybreak

Again at daybreak
Your tenderness
Awake me

In sweet words
Starting our
Warm day together

Let your arm and smile
Leave me no more

Yet night after night
The place next to me
Is empty again…

And so I ask you
Never tell me
About love at daybreak…

20 June 2003

great emotion is to me
a dream garden

bright with perfection
rich in roses
full of silence

in that garden
two rivulets rise


rivulets ripple alike
bypass obstacles
sparkle with rays

their water approach
secretly talking
and dream about streaming together

the only regret is
that such gardens
such waters

so rare in the real…

In Step with Memory

All my life

With no make-believe
But just slightly different

To where
I don’t know
Where it’s given to me

For sure I’m unable to forget
Neither can I remember

I want to hold in myself
Every gift day
And walk om

But with memory…

12 January 2003

Take Me to Erato

And you take me to poesy land
Let’s ride a drozhi to Erato
Just the two of us
Into sobbing black night
Followed by your white tie
And my train

And you take me to songs land
On a moonlit night
Let angels play harps
For us and sing
In brightness
With muses’ stars
Their hearts shine to poets

And you take me to truth land
Forget the strange drozhki
Not quite real
The truth is in poems
They launch us to horizons
Bringing consolation

6 February 2003

With Jasmin and Nightingale

You were nightingale
I was jasmin
At dawn
With fading noon
Our violins entwined

And we sang about Niobe..

And then I changed into drozhki
And you into accordion
And June notes were strewn behind us
Nightingale warbles
Jasmin melodies

With accordion playing in the drozhki

We were
Leaving together in breath
riding moon sailing on water
stars above weeping
flowers flying skyward
leaves playing in the sun

birds departing…

today only the same drozhhi
without change
under Ursa Major light
and the moon hanging heartlike
waiting again

for a new enchantment

The Dance of Life

Dancing alone
Dancing my life

Skewed with nonsense
But sometimes idyllic
And mostly motley

My many-coloured floor
Like tufts of marquetry
Vanishing underfoot

I’ll dance with such passion
To wrench from the world
The terrorized meaning…

Young Biography

The time of sprouting proves
Most fertile
In entire lifestory

Say the charming May
Among twelve months
Of the long year

And all chores
Were needless
Dreaming useless
Like your tears

But who is in the know
And who wishes
To know beforehand…

Virtual Relationships

Those lonely in search
Of man
Write letters in space

Pouring emotions into e-links
adrenaline raising emotions

Virtual relationships
Longings for trust in love
Words writen in the stars
In quest for lost meaning
Of their proper existence

E-mails teach them
Vigil for the little light

But reality rarely

for they are
of non-e-love

disappointed they surf
in quest of an e-address
wishing to be
useful in another way

wanting to wait for e-mails
to describe dreams
and to love again

19 March 2003

Other Polish Poets

A Polish Jew
A Polish German
A Polish American

What poets are they

A Jew
A German
An Amercian
Or a Pole

Walking back from school
Aflamed with Polish heroism
My back was hit by a stone
Remembered the Polish Jew
A mathematician from Tel Aviv

thank you God for the longings
for colours and deep breathing…
wrote a Polish German
poet from Lubeck

I had interesting childhood in my life…
Said a Polish American
Driven away from near Kolomyja
Also a poet

Poets dispersed world over
In their writing preserve
Intense juice of rootedness
A thrill of poetry in captured images

Thank God
Other Polish poets
Are alive worldwide

A Polish Jew
A Polish German
A Polish American…

Ever Harder

Ever harder to trust
See other world
In day-to-day life

Smash the shell of chaos…

Temptations and attractions
Sap the poetry of life
Losing its soul

But my heart
Will last forever
And write

Its own book…

At Michigan

Dynamics of perennial car lines
Heavens’ power in skyscrapers
Hubbub of aggressive commercials

Miles of one-storey suburbs
The homeless with Eddie cart
Immensity of loneliness

The elements clash and tumble
Winds carry meltingpot of races
Flashes of new boundless energy

Over Michigan…

Chicago, 16 November 2003

Pondering in Springfield

When bony and tall Lincoln
Used quill at candlelight
Seated in simple judge’s chair and
Later hard benches of the first Congress and the White House

European drawing-rooms wallowed
in soft luxury of their long history
Dividing ‘midst quarrels bloody booty
Unconcerned about the emerging power

Today the world’s gold flows elsewhere
The other hemisphere conquers by thought and luxury
Even dictating how verses should be written

But Columbus’ star-reaching energy
Of late somewhat less clear and more conscious
Of the fall of the world’s every empire

Springfield, 3 January 2004

Cherries Are Gone…

Again cherries are gone
Successive cherries
Of yet another summer

This year exceptionally sweet
Nurtured by
unstinting sun

plums again will follow cherries
pear and apple trees will bear fruit
sunflowers will lose their golden shields
blackberries will bend in violet

another summer will flit by
like a jetplane overhead
with ever more
grey cells disappearing

but soon will come
new cherries
new plums apples
sunflowers and blackberries

impermanence does not know
the meaning of rest and pause
and successive cherries and summers
ale full of meaning…

Miodówko, 28 July 2003

Fifth Avenue at Night

I try to melt into the rushing crowd
On the world’s richest street
Unfeeling of being even a mite of global capital

My eyesight can’t reach skyscrapers peaks
My mind can’t grasp the power of McDonald’s flags
Apparenty I’m not rightly equipped with

Lust for life
Non temperance

In the Big Apple I feel rather like a lonely drozhki
Lost at the Fifth Avenue

From another journey

Manhattan NY, 22 January 2004

Asking the Seer for a Clue

A tiny
Tine splinter of wood
That wounded your finger
Almost destroyed you
On this land without historic past
And you sailed towards it
‘midst huge sharks
towering frothing waves
for you lacked place worldwide
and cells in labyritine monasteries

the new world gave you no friendly welcome
even if you related to people
whom you couldn’t trust
you abstained from judgment
and they defied love

you failed to convince them
that you seek no career
but duty
you had to beg help from the mighty
and had to leave this promised land

not comprehended
hardly different from a madman

give us a clue today, o seer,
that can raise from the dead
how to treat this young country so powerful

when prayers get confused
conscience becomes fearful
and the pain is great

New York, February 2004

Sahara is a Miracle

My Sahara
Boundless sun
In flaming grains of sand
Seen from the camel’s hump

And human rapture…

He guided the animal patiently
Had coal-black eyes
And spoke French

Sahara is beautiful
Sahara is a miracle…

Obeying his voice
The camel knelt, rose and walked
Up to door of hotel
Marked with five stars

In the desert…

I left on the hump
In sunlight
Returning with the stars

Of the sky
Of sand
Of hotel

Till now I see golden infinity
Of stars
little grains

And hear…

Sahara is beautiful
Sahara is a miracle…

From the volume ‘Four Springtimes’ (2008)

The Window Syndrome

My friend said
To have window syndrome
Seeking lit window panes at night
He’s impelled to peep into well-lit interior
Watch people moving inside
No matter whether they are happy
But not lonely

Light widows for my friend
Mean family happiness
That he had lost somewhere
Even with three wives
Three daughters
And seven grandchildren
And several caring girlfriends

Today he remains lonely
With his sculpture and poems
And afraid with anyone
To enclose his agony
His mannerisms
And dreams
And so every day
The windrow syndrome attacks him

I Need Help from Above

I need help from above
To probe
The meaning of existence

To have undisturbed sleep
With no pain from somatic cells

To hear a bird’s voice
To see blossoming violet

To have bread
A leaf of green grass
Useful time

I need help from above
Not to lose moral compass

To the City Unacknowledged
To soldiers and boyscouts and girl guides of the Uprising

Only their grandchildren
That could light gravelamps to heroes
Of the holocaust of the capital city
Aloud and proudly
In the spirit of that month of August

And like them then
Young in grey uniforms
Suffocating in sewers
To shout all truth aloud
About the city risen from the ashes

Only their grandchildren
Could make announce that genocide worldwide
The fight not only in defence of their city
But the entire continent
Resisting two executioners

Only their grandchildren
Lived to see the grave mound
Become a tomb of resurrection
Of the vanquished
But invincible

In the city unacknowledged

Warsaw, 1 August 2004

The Cross Askew

Crowded between two monsters
Besieged by lies and crimes
You left the rusted cross
On the now hateful necropolis

You left food for moss
A segment of crumbling tombstone
So lovingly stroked
Until not long ago

Rising skywards today
Are fine pinetrees
Perhaps to tell some day
To explain all
And render justice

For now the pines are too young
So only withered flower
On a sunken grave
Will remember
Your onetime presence…

Lida (Belarus), 29 September 2004

Saving the Myth of Paris

Ruddy chestnut trees
In the Tuilleries and Champs Elysees
Are blighted and shed leaves sooner
Than those ones on the Vistula

They also produce less fruit
That glisten and gleam weakly
Compared to those from the Warsaw Lazienki park

And what in this country is not more blighted
Asks a Polish priest
Adding that on the Seine
Even the Poles go to pot

Even those imposing walls
Tell more instructive history
And monuments with less destruction

But I take along
A couple of Parisian chestnuts

To save the myth of the Gioconda city

Paris, 5 October 2004

A Leaf on a Tomb

Dry prayer for the departed
Plastic flowers
On grey tombstones

And so unnecessary

Rattled-off prayer
Does not reach the Lord
While flowers
Machine-made in mass
Are cold even for angels

Prayer without power
And flowers without life
the dear departed take
with sheer indifference

they will rather bask in the warmth
of a golden maple leaf
just clinging to their grave….

17 October 2004

Mazurkas in Sanniki

Picking golden leaves
I heard village band from nearby
Inn of two centuries ago

The melodies sounded probably in 1828
In younng Frederic’s ears
Hidden in the Pruszak family park

Listened and emoted and relished
Transforming into notes of mazurkas
Forgetful of chill and humidity

Only two centuries on
The artist put a soft long gown on him
From here Chopin still standing listens…

With the inn now gone
And the arbour
And the Pruszaks…

Surving are mazurkas
and frail composer in his gown

Sanniki, 17 October 2004

On My Nightingale

This spring my nightingale
Merrier than ever
Fuller of song
And changing gardens

Fond of various
Trees boughs flowers
Offering trills to many listeners
now singing from accacia tree embracing my greenness
Again from age-bent appletree
Sometimes I hear it from a modest lilac bush

His concerts wake me at daybreak
In daytime healing my soul
At even-time lulling to sleep

My favourite are travels with the nightingale
Moving from place to place
Him on the wing
Myself on a child’s bike
Refreshing finest places

Together we gaze into the bygone world
Strange and glorious
We look into snug-cuddly desks
Then we are stronger
Nestle back to our nests…

June 2005

Autumn at Sears’

In autumn sleet
Sears dwarfed shrunk
Like its neighbour also giants

Entire city sits
Under low-hanging skies
Softly, as if on wet meadow
On the Chicago river
By the Michigan lake

Only inhabitants unshrunken
Rushing to and fro
With morning plastic coffees
Music and telephones in ears

A Latina wraps tighter her shawl
A black man wears double-layered hat
But machines whirr as ever
similarly car horns compete with wind

Nearby park
Under low autumn sky…
Distributes wet colourful leaves
To Sears’- the outside world…

Chicago, 2005

In La Scala
For my brother Leszek

Between Master Leonardo
And the famous opera-house
Aged yellow trams plying

With wooden doors and banks
alongside windows also wooden
always slowing down at Piazza’s La Scala

Leonardo da Vinci in surprise
Rubs his long beard fretting
Today he’d surely design others

He gazes into the theatre’s shining gate
At dressy ladies in furs often greeted
By posters on plight of unfortunate animals

And you wearing soft cotton in style
Feel no worse
either to Leonardo
Or during Mozart’s opera in the famous theatre

You regret that not only the Milan high life
Was late in reacting
As Amadeus was during in poverty and young

Listening to his Idomeneo in Italian and English
You delight in the energy of the music
Bringing today huge profits
Alas not to its creator

And during entre-acte at La Scala
‘Midst flashy ladies
At your ease you order a glass of champagne
Ideally to clink it with Mozart
Toasting Leonardo’s health

Milan, 1 December 2005

Query in Assisi

He established the Franciscans
She set up the St Clara nuns
Both in ancient Assisi

Coming from rich families
They preferred poverty
And freedom of spirit

Their hearts were in love
But were summoned by the Crucified
And they obeyed Him

He cut his hair
And they offered their finiteness
To the One on High

They renounced their parents
All manner of riches
Selecting chastity and humble robes

Eight centuries on
Francesco and Chiara’s sarcophagi are modest
But great in their majesty

Rosy stones leading to sacred crypts and reliquaries
Are worn by millions of feet
As much as the Assisi hewn out from rock

How many followed in Francesco’s footsteps and his little plant Chiara
How many chose heavenly glory over possessions
And carry today the greatness of poverty

I query in the holy city
In the happy scene of original actors
In the theatre of immortal roles

Assisi, 15 December 2005

Christmas Eve with Forefathers

At Christmas Eve table
In the holy moments I think about forefathers
Those alive and from generations ago

Whose spirit lives in me
Whose home I carry in myself
From whom I inherit most


Will their gosts join us
Just for a while at white-covered table
And nibble at a bit of

The wafer

Though it’s hard recalling the forefathers
I know that lacking family background magic
I’d be like a map without its legend

Devoid in myself of the hope
Vested in me today by
The just born Child

Ciechanow, 24 December 2005

His Boat Floating On

After a year of his absence at the helm
Of the boat of the rocking world
Bells are pealing loud
And rays of sanctity are felt
The seed is maturing : Santo! Subito!

The gate to Christ opened wider
The young – light of the world and salt of the earth
Trusted, wept, floated over the depth following His lamp.They fear less
He gave them his special love

With more courage they walk towards the source
More often they gather at the window
The window of the man
The window of His word and love

In Krakow they feel Him under the window
Over Wigry Lake they hear Him in birds
In Rome they see Him on St Peter’s Square
And many carry Him in their selves

Those not so young sometimes have
New faces. Having experienced miracle
Were able to change their lives
Perceived the value of suffering

His heart beats today in thousands of others
Touched forever by hope
Taught them the meaning of memory, identity
Embraced them equally by His love

The might of Giovanni Paulo II widespread
Now in white no more in black
Milions of lights and songs
In ardent gratitude to him
Again in one community

His boat moves on
On another worldmap
And crocuses in bloom as
On April 2nd 2005…

Sonday, 2 April 2006

Not Remembering

Old twisted willow tree does not remember
That it stood by a sandy trail
Used by phaetons, conveyances
And she with her young annual sprouts
Offered them her shade

The senile willow does not remember
National upsurges

She forgot all
As during last fifty years
The red conflagration destroyed her inside
And so what be remembered by the empty burntout trunk

The old Mazovian willow
Does not even recall
To have stood by the sandy path
Driven over by the Wielopolskis, Potulickis Obory
Oblivious of their coats-of-arms
And conveyances

Lonely crooked blackened
Although still formidable
Can neither understand
nor love the new world

Obory, 5 May 2006

Preserve Rowanberry Dreams

The world in clouds
Its performance
Lasts forever…

But who this day still
Absorbs and feels
Those pianos and mandolines
impossible performances
And the naive baffling tangos

And who else
Or perhaps it’s enough
That only you and me…

That we remember the rowanberry dreamings
Those lips silent and soul singing
And not at once my dear girls not at once

That only you and me
Are still able to count the stars
And hold disputes
Floating torch-like
Preserving our world from oblivion

Innocently and gently
Dancing eyes to eyes
Unaware of ourselves

And of wild vine too

4 June 2006

A Forest of Mosques

In river valleys rimmed by hills
A young and light forest sprouted
A forest of proud minarets
Earlier unknown on this ancient soil

At noon from the gallery of tall minaret
On banks of the Bosnia
Muezzin’s voice flits over the waves to the other bank

Muezzin from there responds by icindija
From a third and tenth minar
In triumph over fading Orthodox and Catholic churches

In the morning muezzins call for glory of Allah by jacija
In the evening by aksama
In mosques porches ever more shoes
And waters of serdvana wash ever more feet

Did they hasten of late to kill a neighbour?
How many staggered under the weight of guns?
How many ran with conflagration?
How many trembled aspen-like in hiding?

New followers of Mohammad catch their breath
To catch up with the world. In hurry removing bullet pockmarks
Healing wounds and scars raising quickly
The red-white-blue flag
Never mind the ghost-buildings with no tables

After fratricidal war a new bastion of Allah
Grows stronger befriended by Europe
Never mind Fallaci who managed to scream
That gentle Islam
Is feasible only in dreams…

On the way to Saraievo (Bosnia), 20 September 2006

Without a Good-bye

When aliens came to invade the home
Jadzia at sixteen fled into green fields

The corn was high in spring of 1940
She met her elder brother there

Ultimately they both ended up under German rule
Like their parents driven out of the family nest

Jadzia never saw her mother again her heart broke
In depair over partings, slave labour, humiliations

Today Jadzia counts her last living days
But those images won’t go returning ever more often

She believes that soon she’ll meet her mother
Whom she hadn’t time to say good-bye

8 July 2007

At Vasco da Gama’s

Alentejo – Portuguese bread basket
Aged trees produce corks for port wine
Ethereal eucaliptus trees give paper pulp
Pines offer seeds for supersweet dainties
Vineyards rank seventh (with 45 mln hls)
Cream from coloured horned cows and from sheep unique cheeses

The land of Portugal…
Balcony of the old world
Overhanging the Alantic breeze
Where the earth ends and water begins
Marked by many traces…

Holy Virgin lighter than the sun
Crowned with the sphere of Fatima secret
That white-clad bishop would fall to the ground
She floated down on angels straight from heaven
And the sun danced for her…

The land of Cristo Rei
Who from elevation over the Tagus pouring into ocean
Embraces all and sundry with powerful arms
Listening to the melancholy fado
Soars above towers of a medieval castle
And bright peopled beaches

Lisbon adorned in blue-and-white azulejos
With alleys of Alfama
A yellow wooden tram with a crank
Forever rolling endlessly
Climbing up and down the steep streets
Peeping into windows of shopkeepers and dwellers

Lisboa’s Praca de Comercio no more with a living king
(after the tragic earthquake of 1755)
But with the relics of St Antonio nearby
With the legend of discoverers and conquerors Vasco da Gama (sailed in 1497)
Off to win vast lands
And even with the ghost of our Bem cast into Torre de Belem
St Hieronimus continues a translation of Old and New testament
Surrounded by lions in the Manueline monastery
St George continues to watch in the castle’s ruins
Porto tastes ever better
Oaks bear cork in sunflowers
Oleanders adorn modern paths of today
Ever more pineseed pastries
And black goats in search of last green blades

Summer 2007

Clash of memories

Driven out

No more the subject but suddenly an object…

A doll grabbed in a hurry
Lost on refugee path
As title-deed or family signet ring from Lvov

Crying over lost little garden and stolen address…

New life on alien ruins
Alien land awaiting caress
Only Grochowiak’s birds sang in Polish

Numbness and weakness after root being cut…

Sudden explosion of hope after 1980
But smashed with clubs
Extinguished in torn hearts behind bars

Ever deeper wound
Clash of memories…

Autumn 2007

Only in Autumn

In autumn only
You can afford the speed of a snail
Utmostly to guard a younger date

In autumn only
You may farewell birds with no regret
Believing in their natural return

In autumn only
You may marvel how heavens
Bestow a splendour of colours

Only in autumn
You have right to be sad
That’s the norm in sleety days

In autumn only
You may long after emotional fulfilment
As it’s befitting to be nostalgic

In autumn only
You may get enmeshed in life
And blame the Indian Summer

In autumn only
You may create golden poetry
Without gold…

November 2007

From the volume ‘To Wanda’ (2009)

Christmas Eve in Hospital

I kissed today Mum
Your every wrinkle
But they were too deep
To respond…

In the glow of the Chirstmas tree from Janek your son
Was expressed just by your eyes


But your living hand
Suddendly was able to hold the snow-white wafer
And the might beamed from the Bethlehem stable
Directed it to my beloved children

In silence
But richest in words

And bed-ridden in hospital
With no hay-lined table
Also this year you hosted
This special supper

Hospital at Gizycko, 24 December 2007

Mum, But the Jacket

Today you didn’t extend
Your left able hand
To embrace me

You didn’t touch my locks
Or lightly clasp my hand
Or notice fashionable jacket
On your youngest son

But just yesterday you buttoned him up
In wordless silence
your one-handed success

Outside the hospital
Since hoarfrost turned into dew
May that change only
Mark your infirmity

Hospital in Giżycko, 28 December 2007

Out with Gruels…

In a snowstorm you refused gruels
Trying to remember normal tastes

You smiled
Breathing in Egyptian scent

Now aware of your plight
Ashamed of pampers
Bound by lack of speech

Composed you were able to accept
The sacrament of communion

In the evening we wept together
And later frail and silent
You slept like a bird
Your hand in my palm

Hospital in Giżycko, 6 to 8 January 208

Small Bird Wail

Yesterday’s weeping together
Today lit up your face
With the first word aloud

The face of powerless little bird
With eyes filled with unspoken words
Lips forming into a ready beak
As of a wailing chick
Waiting for food
And a lesson of speaking

Mum today I’m your mother
But shall I be equal to the task….

Hospital in Giżycko, 9 January 2008

Tomorrow Even More

Today most impressed by
Your prayer
Rosary ruby beads count
Memory of our Fatima together
And silent repetition of words
So new to you again

You also accepted my prikaz
Because the Olecko kingdom awaits
with the chidren (even if so grown)
Needing your care
Besides who’ll welcome the firstborn great grandchild

You undertood all
So I hope
There will be even better tomorrow…

Hospital in Giżycko, 14 January 2007


From yesterday you repeated my lead
It’s best at home
I am strong
I shall be healthy
Even if in the 28th day of infirmity
You still couldn’t overcome the weakness of the body

But on the 29th day
With fresh marguerites
And nausea on the Mazurian roadbends
We started in merciless ambulance
Your palm in mine

You recognized familiar home details
A lady neighbour
Your brother and the favourite daughter from America
So perhaps you believed in
The unknowingly repeated words
It’s best at home
I’m strong
I shall be healthy

Hospital in Giżycko, 16 January 2008

After Ten Days at own Home

In home’s cosiness
You cheered up
With new brightness in eyes
New vigour in bones
Able to tell flowers your admiration

But no more life returned to your body’s right half
Your pale lips still
Full of speechless words
Repeated mostly
Merciful God’s Help…

Olecko, 27 January 2008

At Konstancin

You arrived on springtime eve
Firmly lashed to stretcher
Shaken to pieces in a Mazurian ambulance

Welcoming you were swollen buds on trees
The first springtime birds
And – oh wonder – you said on your own
I hear…

Accepting the country hospital
Without thresholds and hardened paths
And stroking my hair
Again on your own you whispered
Thank you…

Your marvelled going in wheelchair
At hospital and forest nooks and crannies
Enchanted in chapel looking at Merciful Jesus
Eight of March flowers from grandson Michas
Julka’s very pregnant tummy
With your first great grandson

Mum, you came here crying
I hope you’ll come out with joy of health…

Konstancin, 6-7 March 2008

… And you were leaving joyous
With the world slowly returning

With success of first self-reliant steps
Read words
Smiling toilet

I still see you during one
Of our nights together
Suddenly sitting up on bed
Saying I had enough sleep
And looking long at me
Seated by herself
Myself still slumbering beside

You were fondly farewelled at Konstancin
Already green trees and first flowers
Birds friendly with you
And the while-robed staff
Handing them proudly as au revoir
Tulips and forget-me-nots
In hope of a speedy return here

And it never occurred to me
That the Olecko kingdom will summon you
This time forever…

Konstancin, 7 May 2008

You Are Gone…

Whom I’ll tell now
About the fragrant pine in bloom
Of the coulor of geraniums this year
And what I’m writing lately

Who will stitch on the wobbly button
Who will go with me visiting graves
Of our Suwalki forefathers
Who’ll admire the first greatgrandson
Insisting that family is sacrum

At a point with so much hope
So much to tell
And you decided to depart suddenly
Without a word

In helpless despair I only console myself
That you are now among angels
And they do not die
And so you will stay on here
And our love as well…

Olecko, 20 May 2008

You Abandoned Guests

The first time ever I was a guest
In your kingdom
Without you around
Because you’ve put on a blue creation
Glimmering shawl and shoes
And you moved to the castle’s chapel

But why you’ve always waited for me….
Looking out expectantly
Even today I see your shade in the window

What happened that
Your hospitality is suddenly gone
Even with a fridge well filled
Your violets on the windowsill in bloom as ever
And the clock loudly marking time

Merciless time with yourself gone …

Olecko, 23 May 2008

In Your Bed

Today I slept in your bed
Where you went into eternal sleep
On Corpus Christi eve

I slept hoping
That you might still

I heard nothing
But you appeared as if descended from portrait
Against the backdrop of a sunny meadow
‘midst smiles of May flowers
Even if the lilacs outside wept with rain

And I felt
Of heavenly angel…

Olecko, 24 May 2008

Flowery Coronet

Just one month with you no more
You visited me in my sleep
Wearing a flower coronet in colours
All the flowers from last days
finely plaited into your

As if you meant to say
That you still admire them

That you are still around..

Ciechanow, 20 June 2008

The Last Wild Strawberries

May I report
That this summer I managed
To pick hardly any wild strawberries
Making them into a nice bouquet (green-and-red)
And in your style I’ll leave it to dry
For brewing healthful teas
Just now the strawberry bouquet graces the fireplace
Spreading its unique aroma
Forever linked to you…

I promise you too
That today before evenfall
I’ll make a similar bouquet with fresh
Raspberry stems
Their fruit I ate at will
In a forest clearing
I also plucked limetree flowers
(you reminded every year to pick them)
And the tree by a field path
Still looks like a swarming beehive

And I already now invite you, mum
To drink strawberry-raspberry-lime flower winter teas…

Miodowko, 7 July 2008

‘New poems’

Anniversary of your repose

Mother one year after your repose
Golden fields breathed their fragrance
On the Mazurian rolling hills

In bloom were chestnut trees lilacs meadowsweets
Pansies twinkled in violet
On your rosy tombstone
And I brought you snow-white callas

Tucked in May greenness
Of junipers boxwoods
(planted by your hand…)
At our Tadeusz’s side
Your smile from porcelain photo
Pensive and friendly as ever

You embraced me
And thanked for my poems…

You were also in your temple
Adorned by young birch trees
Of white week
Guitars music
The vicar‘s memory

You were with me also on purple lilacs
‘Midst shrubs you knew
Hoary with moss today while flowers
Keeping familiar aroma of childhood

So I offered you a bouquet of violets
(much as I’d done when young)
On the fine slab of granite
And also on the table of your kingdom
Where I went to sleep strangely without you
Though there was frog concert outside
And nightingale trills

Yet but everything bearing your
Daintily forever
Even if the calendar leaf
Unmoved since May 20 2008

Olecko, 20 May 2008 (powinno być 2009?)

Hearts were melting…

In snowy frosty sunlight
Throughout immense America’s space
Through the windy city ice of Niagara and Ohio prairies
I rebuilt the deserved memory about
Herodotus of American Poles

In wild blizzards and frosts
People shedding hot tears
Of regret and surprise
That great nobility of spirit
And dedication to Polishness
Could be forgotten so soon…

I am grateful
And moved my heart melting
The words of ninety year old professor
The Nestor historian of American Poles
Recalling the Herodotus of Polish Americans

In these words he contained
All expressions of recognition
On my fortnightly tour
In America starting to sway
Under Obama’s wing.

Cleveland, 3 February 2009

Asado under Argentine Blue Skies

Countless cattle on Argentine pampa
Black brown red cream and motley
Unaware of seasons months or days
Knowing no roof or prepared fodder
Conscious only of day and night
And estancis monotonous table land
Rimmed by horizon where it dwells
In search of still luscious grass
A gulp of cool water
A bit of shade in a clump of eucalyptus trees.

Every head of cattle of Argentine pampa
Knows it has to stick together
For singly it will not reach water
Turning instead into a sun’s steak
And not the famed grilled asado
Right from under Argetine blue sky
Making palte water not only in Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata
In Miramar Cordoba or Santa fe
But also on the old continent

(on the way through the pampa from Miramar to Buenos Aires, 20 February 2009)

To Frederic in Mallorca

Dazzled with a Palm

When you in November 1928 you came ashore here
You were welcomed by the sky like tourquoise,
the sea like azure, hills
like emerald, the celestial air and at night
By guitars and singing for hours on end.
Fleeing Parisian gazee you found
In Moorish walls a romantic love, wonderous life,
From the balcony vines overhead you delighted
In the green-blue landscape of the island of paradise.

Silence was great here undisturbed multitude of palmtrees
Cedars, olive-, orange-, fig- and pomegranate trees
Or ever-fresh flowers or boats then so few
Today’s Mallorca is not wild anymore, the masts
In its marina hard to count and all
vying to surpass others.
Romantic lovers are no fewer
Oleandres blooming as ever
Admiration for catedral’s golden walls no lesser.
Unchanged too are the Palma’ s alleys and the ages-old olive tree
By the Almudain royalpalace, of twisted trunk,
is today not 800 hundred years old but almost a milennium…

Palma, 16 June 2009-08-15

Loving and Ailing in Valdemosa

Yet all flowers withered soon
Cold rains came, winds and your sickness
And eve the bracing climate of picturesque valley
Framed by Serra la Tramuntana on which
You wasted your elegant Parisian shoes
Did not help to give you a new lease of life.

Although you came to Valdemosa with extended arms, Slav style,
Joyous and admiring the hermitage
Perched on rocks above sea, the oak
Orchards of olive-, almond- and bread-trees
Because all was breathing poetry here
You found no respite in the stone walls of Carthusian monks
(received by them in 1399 by Martin I the Gentle Mallorca’s king
and taken from them in 1826), of no help were cordials from their old farmacy
nor the alter ardently worshipping Saint Catarina (the local beatata)
nor the the beloved Aurora who adored your genius
and her children under your fatherly care.

Perhaps, ‘frail poor Angle’, the 98 days spent here were to grief for
A respite from Parisian drawing-rooms?
Did you relax? Not cherishing enough the love just born?
Wounded by a touch of rose?
Phantoms and nightmares came on you…
Besieged by discomforts and howling winds you had to – o horror! –
Battle in the dark with phanthoms, finding pleasure only
In your divine art in ‘blue-coloured tones’ flowing
From under your long fingers whenever you opened the piano cover
Music for you was the only light, but too demanding on your fragility
The black beautiful eyes
The loving Aurora couldn’t grasp
And you most secretive of geniuses
Locked yourself up in the cold cell and alone in mortal agony
Battling the nocturnal nightmares
Kept breaking your quills
And polished rainy regret-filled preludes and ballades
Mazurkas and polonaises
(because you brought here the forbidden Polishesness…)
While composing your masterpieces in tears, tired beyond support
You nearly drove down your soul…

Today your purest music though sad and rainy
Fills completely the ivy-covered monastery walls,
No longer humid and now friendly.
It soars, swallow-flight, over the valley soon in March
Florished with a white-rosy aroma of magnolias
(but you were no more…)
And hears, as before, the eagle’s voice from cliff.
In your cell almost breath is cherished
as well as a wisp of hair of the poet of pianoforte
And you visit perhaps among those phantoms (spaces imaginaires)
-pale, capricios, with absent gaze –
With the ghost of the cursed illness that drove you away
From here on a two-wheeled cart brilocho
Through the wilderness of the soul-less island
Winding up your saddest love journey
You found at Nohant a world more friendly to you
Though not any more at the side of the romantic baroness…
Instead you stayed Solus et Unicus
(the unique and unrepeatable)
Chopin Phaenomenon

Valdemosa, 17 June 2009

In Krupnicza Street
Masonry now blocks the legendary gate
In Krupnicza
Visited by all greats of literature
Not only Polish
Resembles today
A literature excluded by
Pictures screens monitors scenes
By barrier of publishers readers managers
And ever wider circle of illiterates

From Krupnoca ever the bar is gone
Vodka-glasses and traditional pork chops
Left are vegetarian dishes and tea
Even if the shades of poets continue to wander about
Even if you hear the unfinished talks
And remains the unfinished drink
Not only of Ildefons

The candles alone
Are on as of yore in real candlesticks
Harking back to literary evenings
And sometimes still visiting here sentimental poets
Seduced by this place sighing that once it was…
So normal

Krakow, Krupnicza Street, 17 September 2009

Travelling to You…

Travelling to you land of beauty and pride
Carried by autumn gold of your trees
Green-grey fields
Cool depth of your gleaming eyes

Travelling the October sun road
Forced in summer to carry limousines, boats and road-cruisers
In winder climbing midst snowy hills and valleys
In spring painted with May

Travelling the road then marked by the aroma of chrysantemums
In the glare of All Souls’ Day grave-lights
Feebly dancing to memories.

Travelling ‘midst graves with crosses arms
Many traces of strife for the country’s Independence
Passing villages roadside chapels spires of little white churches
Wide-open under skies seeming closer here

Travelling the road of many countrymen’s exodus
Heading for the world far and wide
They were followed by the Steadfast Pilgrim
Who left a lasting mark in souls and on stones

Travelling my heart going back to vain childhood moments
To a whisp of wind in pine and fir trees
To wild birds’ songs and streams
To a silence of granite boulders and waterways

Travelling carrying my foregotten longings
Collecting lost memories of youth
Discovering straying paths of early years
In melodies of pure speech of borderland

Travelling as of yours by britchka to church
Or grandpa’s cart with apples to market..
Returning to light the flame of memory
And discover the four walls shared with Milosz…

(Travels in Suwalki region: Augustow, Suwalki, Zajaczkowo, Bakalarzewo, 30-31)
October 2009