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Poetry Readings: The Gift of Mediation


Poetry Readings: For you Europe
Julia Hartwig Poet
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Here's one of the poems that often appears in foreign anthologies because it is about the Polish period of war, martial law.


For you Europe we are a preserve of history

with our old-fashioned ideals

with our dusted-off treasures

with the songs we sing


Everything that is best we give away to be devoured

by the dragon of violence and sheer force

young boys beautiful girls

the finest minds most promising talents

offerings of flowers crosses words


Lighthearted heirs of solemnity

and promoters of hope

we are inheritors of a native rhetoric

that fits us perfectly –


though only yesterday

it seemed a bit too tight


Taken from 'In Praise of the Unfinished: Selected Poems' (2008) translated, from the Polish, by John and Bogdana Carpenter.

Jeden z wierszy, które się powtarzają w antologiach zagranicznych, bo dotyczy jak gdyby Polski okresu wojennego – stanu wojennego.


Jesteśmy dla Ciebie

Jesteśmy dla ciebie rezerwatem historii Europo

z naszymi staroświeckimi ideałami

z naszym odkurzonym skarbczykiem

z pieśniami które śpiewamy


Wszystko co mamy najlepszego oddajemy na pożarcie

smokowi gwałtu i przemocy

Młodych chłopców piękne dziewczęta

najlepsze umysły najbardziej obiecujące talenty

daninę kwiatów krzyży słów


Lekkomyślni dziedzice powagi

nie wyświęceni krzewiciele nadziei

spadkobiercy ojczystej retoryki

w której mieścimy się jak ulał


choć wczoraj jeszcze

wydawała się nam jakby przyciasna

Born to a Polish father and a Russian mother, Julia Hartwig (1921-2017) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and author of children's books. She studied at the University of Warsaw, the Catholic University in Lublin and the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Czesław Miłosz called her 'the grande dame of Polish poetry'. Julia Hartwig was one of the few poets in Poland who made masterly use of poetic prose. She translated poems by Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Cendrars and Supervielle, and published monographs on Apollinaire and Gerard de Nerval. She also translated from English, and published a large anthology of American poetry which she co-edited in 1992 with her late husband, the poet Artur Międzyrzecki.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: For you Europe, Europe, Poland

Duration: 1 minute, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 15 June 2011