Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Poems of Grzegorz Wróblewski
Since April, when I first came across Grzegorz Wróblewski, I've been reading and enjoying his poems and his paintings. He's a Pole, born in Gdansk and raised in Warsaw, who's been living and writing in Copenhagen since 1985. His poems have appeared in a number of terrific journals both here and overseas (Chicago Review, Common Knowledge, and Poetry London), and I'm really not sure why I haven't read him before this. I've been missing out.
His poems are like the best Polish poems. They are ironic and serious, quick and probing, nailed to place and character but soaring in imagination.
Here are a few from his latest collection Our Flying Objects:
(IN A MOMENT SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN)
In a moment something bad will happen,
something I’ll be forced to forget quickly.
Or just the opposite.
Who knows their fate? An old washerwoman
hangs bed-clothes on lines between the trees.
When she sees the clear sky she is happy again.
OUR FLYING OBJECTS
In the beginning we observe bumble-bees and colourful petals
We are still small and fascinated by the flies
enjoying themselves in the sugar-bowl
After them are sparrows which we shoot with a catapult
Later on we keep canaries and this way
we learn to love the animals
The first sexual act we associate rightly with the nightingale
and maturity with the regular
feeding of the pigeons
Finally there are only eagle owls
We sit offended by the window and everything alive
brings on a rabid fury
MR. ROBIN DIES OF PNEUMONIA
(ABOUT THE IRISH CONQUERORS OF NORTH AMERICA)
12 hours daily for 50 years, without even seeing the sun,
in meat factories and mines, repairing other peoples trousers,
only to drink himself unconscious every Saturday,
and later getting sober during Sunday mass at St. Patricks,
and on Monday working again, without seeing the sun,
trying to convince himself that one day everything will change,
and in the end taking apart an old chest of drawers,
and taking out a bundle of bank-notes and giving them
to his surprised wife, who will say, that one could travel to Honolulu
for that money or at least buy two pigs, but now there’s no reason
to do that, she could have married the local doctor, but made
a mistake and chose, how stupid, this rascal, slow-witted Robin
and wasted her life instead of buying two pigs, and now he will
desert her, and did such a life have any meaning at all?
Our Flying Object is available from Equipage Books as part of its Cartalia Poetry Series. You can contact the press at email@example.com,or by mail at
c/o Rod Mengham
CB5 8BL, U.K.
You can see more of Grzegorz's poetry at
MAGMA POETRY (London)
PARAMETER MAGAZINE (Manchester)