Grandfather escapes a stalag and...

Grandfather escapes a stalag and hides out in the Jurassic Highlands, 1941

Nights etched into cave walls,
plates of bark, upon which he laid
russets cut with a rock.

A weasel shared her bounty
of field birds and rabbit holes.
Foxes got out of his way.

Frozen rowan berries
or Christmas baubles? Communion
or history? Black earth or bones
of those who went with him in September?

One more winter will do me in, he thought,
but he lived on to sing in taverns
his forbidden songs and build his bread ovens.

Nights are his borderlands. Bushes glowing
with the tracking eyes of German shepherds.
The trigger fingers of branches heavy with dew.


translated byMarek Kazmierski

Wioletta Grzegorzewska


Wioletta Grzegorzewska – born in 1974 in Koziegłowy, comes from Rzeniszów, and since 2006 lives on the Isle of Wight. Published the following volumes of poetry: Wyobraźnia kontrolowana [Controlled Imagination] (Częstochowa 1998), Parantele [Parentele] (2003 Częstochowa), Orinoko [Orinoco] (Tychy 2008), Inne obroty [Other Revolutions] (Rzeszów and Toronto 2010), poetry booklet Ruchy Browna [Brownian Motion] (Częstochowa 2011), a bilingual poetry selection Pamięć Smieny. Smena’s Memory (London 2011 poems translated by Marek Kazmierski), selection of poems and prose poems Wzory skończoności i teorie przypadku. Finite Formulae and Theories of Chance, (Todmorden 2014, poems translated by Marek Kazmierski), prose books Notatnik z wyspy [Notes from the Island] (2013) and Guguły [Unripe Raspberries] (Wołowiec 2014). In 2014, the Aleksander Węgierka Dramatic Theatre staged an adaptation of her book Guguły, directed by Agnieszka Korytkowska-Mazur. Grzegorzewska’s work has been translated into Welsh, French, and English. In 2015, she received the Golden Owl award in Vienna.

Pic. Bogdan Frymorgen