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Agnieszka Pawlus
PolishOrigins Team


Joined: 10 Mar 2013
Replies: 748
Location: Poland

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Post Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:01 am      Post subject: Tadeusz Różewicz 9 October 1921 - 24 April 2014
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Today, on 24 April 2014 died one of the most important Polish poets: Tadeusz Różewicz. He was poet, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, satirist and translator.

He is considered by many to be of the same stature as Szymborska and Milosz.

Read more about him and his works: http://www.englishpen.org/tadeusz-rozewicz-and-the-struggle-for-poetry/

Here are some of his poems:

The Return

translated by Adam Czerniawski

Suddenly the window will open
and Mother will call
it's time to come in

the wall will part
I will enter heaven in muddy shoes

I will come to the table
and answer questions rudely

I am all right leave me
alone. Head in hand I
sit and sit. How can I tell them
about that long
and tangled way.

Here in heaven mothers
knit green scarves

flies buzz

Father dozes by the stove
after six days' labour.

No--surely I can't tell them
that people are at each
other's throats.


Różewicz was from so called "Generation of Columbuses" (or generation 1920): the generation of Poles who were born soon after Poland regained its independence in 1918, and whose adolescence was marked by the tragic times of World War II.

Certainly the most recognized Różewicz's poem is "The Survivor", the analysis of the state of mind of the men who experienced the cruelty of World War II.

The Survivor

translated by Adam Czerniawski

I am twenty-four
led to slaughter
I survived.

The following are empty synonyms:
man and beast
love and hate
friend and foe
darkness and light.

The way of killing men and beasts is the same
I've seen it:
truckfuls of chopped-up men
who will not be saved.

Ideas are mere words:
virtue and crime
truth and lies
beauty and ugliness
courage and cowardice.

Virtue and crime weigh the same
I've seen it:
in a man who was both
criminal and virtuous.

I seek a teacher and a master
may he restore my sight hearing and speech
may he again name objects and ideas
may he separate darkness from light.

I am twenty-four
led to slaughter
I survived.
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