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Poetry Readings: Philemon and Baucis


Poetry Readings: Seated woman
Julia Hartwig Poet
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Siedząca. To jest rodzaj portretu poetyckiego.


Wiatr marszczy powierzchnię stawu jak skórę zbyt wiotką

Słabi kochają wodę? Szukają w niej podobieństwa?

Zawinięta w pled choć jesień jeszcze łagodna

nie próbuje nawet udawać że czyta

Książki odpłynęły od niej jak ta niesiona wiatrem na staw

plastikowa torba udająca łabędzia

Siedzi zwrócona twarzą do wody

Jest także takie szczęście

że zza krat szpitalnych powraca się znów w ramiona świata


Siedzi zwrócona twarzą do wody

Jej zielona suknia przypomina mętnym wzorem kolor stawu

Na głowie jasny tulipan kapelusza

którego rondo zwisa nad czołem zwiędłe i jakby zniechęcone

Rozkłada ręce kontempluje swoje palce

po czym prędko chowa je za siebie

Ogromne łopiany na brzegu są jak latający dywan zatrzymany nisko

 nad ziemią

Teraz słońce ukwieciło na chwilę pstrą bielą wezbraną [sic] kwaterę stawu

wierzby zalśniły

Seated woman. This is a kind of poetic portrait.


Wind wrinkles the pond's surface like a pale skin

Do the weak love water? Do they seek resemblances in it?

Wrapped in a blanket though the autumn is mild

she doesn't even pretend to read

books have floated away like the plastic bag

carried over the pond imitating a swan

She sits with her face to the water

Happiness is to return

from behind hospital gates into the arms of the world


She sits with her face to the water

the green dress recalls the pond's murky pattern

on her head the bright tulip of a hat

its brim drooping as if wilted and discouraged

she spreads her hands contemplating her fingers

then quickly hides them from sight

On the shore enormous weedy leaves of burdocks

are like a carpet flying just above the ground

For a moment the sun adorns its chosen patch of water with bright colours

and the willows glisten


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

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: Seated woman

Duration: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 15 June 2011