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Poetry Readings: Maurice


Poetry Readings: Ghosts
Julia Hartwig Poet
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We were talking about ghosts. That some time they may appear

before us.

            They already called us on that misty, windy night – 'Hamlet,


            We were wondering about poison. That one day we might have to

drink it.

            We drank it already.

            We were thinking that the moment of trial will come.

            Meanwhile the pilgrims we carried with us have been resting a long

time at the bottom of the sea, and are no longer recognisable.

            We think: starting tomorrow we will really live.

            But this is already life, and some of us are dead for good.


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



Myślimy o duchach. Że mogą nam się kiedyś pokazać.

          A one już zawołały do nas tamtej mglistej, wietrznej nocy: Hamlecie! Hamlecie!

          Myślimy o truciźnie. Że kiedyś będziemy musieli ją wypić.

          Wypiliśmy ją już.

          Myślimy, że nadeszła [sic] chwila próby.

          A tymczasem pielgrzymi, których wieźliśmy, od dawna już spoczywają na dnie morza i są już nie do                    rozpoznania.

          Myślimy: od jutra będziemy żyli naprawdę.

          A przecież to już jest życie i niejeden z nas jest już martwy na dobre.



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: Ghosts, Hamlet

Duration: 45 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 15 June 2011