Those Polish Poets

World War II and Poland seemed to create a unique environment for poetry. That unfortunate Catholic country, smack between Russia and Germany,  produced dozens of wise, chastened, articulate writers, many of whose poems I’ve posted in the past. One I hadn’t read before is Ryszard Krynicki.  He mostly writes short, bitter, ironic poems, like salt on the rim of the glass:


–What rights?
do you mean?
The right to life?
You can’t extend it even by an instant,
though you’re dying of curiosity:
who won, who killed.
–The right to fight?
The right of the fittest comes first…
So you’re speaking not of human
but laws of nature,
just try to win this argument with her:

May your triumph

Not defeat you.


Came of It

I stayed silent for many years.
Nothing came of it–

neither good,
nor evil.

Ryszard Krynicki
From Magnetic Point, translated by Clare Cavanagh

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