Classic
Modern Classics
Poetry
Jerzy Liebert
Collected Poems

Liebert’s legacy reflects the dilemmas of a generation which was to create Poland anew

To a Poet

 

What are they to the heavens and void dark, mad

Our hells familiar, absolute, over which

We stretch half-yellowed skies with a lute pitch

In order to cast them longingly after earth – so sad?

 

Oh, what is this love, the heart on an endless beat,

Gales and storms, wise retreats, doubts and defeats,

Compared to mighty gales sent by the highest seat,

And quiet and humble ’neath angels’ feet?

 

From the world’s bottom we scoop up words

Wisdom, feeding hearts with supercilious despair –

And if our words count only here, not there,

If our talk is to the heavens something unheard?

 

Oh, now poet inspired! Neath a statue gleaming

Bent double and beating those strings with all might!

Your lute silver, black, so much alike the night,

When you lay it down, exhausted, pray as if dreaming!

 

 

Painful Inspiration

 

In among my sinful acts as among sleepy grasses

Your stream floats, Lord

Moving my lands, cracking open mountain passes

Hard, massless,

Allow this stream and mead and milk

To climb up aboard

For human kind, for their love, its ilk

I pray, dear Lord.

Classic
Modern Classics
Poetry
Jerzy Liebert
Collected Poems

Liebert’s legacy reflects the dilemmas of a generation which was to create Poland anew

Publisher: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Warszawa 2018
Translation rights: In the public domain. Rights to further elaboration (including the afterword) must be obtained from the publisher: e.szwagrzyk@piw.pl
Foreign language translations: Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy (in anthologies)

Jerzy Liebert (1904-1931) was a Polish poet whose work covers the experience of the transcendent. It is  vigorous in its descriptions of reality. Before his untimely death from tuberculosis, Liebert revealed himself to be a talented translator of Alexander Alexandrovich Blok, and a fan of Sergei Yesenin. As a poet, he  followed in the literary footsteps of the likes of Jan Kochanowski, and Cyprian Norwid, was associated with the Skamander poetic group, and a keen reader of John Henry Newman, Stanisław Brzozowski, Thomas Mann and Joseph Conrad.

His life story reflects the complex fates of the Polish nation; his legacy – the dilemmas of a generation which was to create Poland anew, having brought it back into existence in 1918, only to meet with the challenges freedom presents us with. This young generation was faced with a situation radically different from the four previous generations of their countrymen, who were forced to live under foreign oppression. Liebert showed his fellow poets a path which led them to the most difficult existential and metaphysical questions.

Liebert’s poetry celebrates language as a communicative device, necessary for expression, but also as a meeting place, a phenomenon of ineffable, spiritual and restricted coexistence. The spiritual dimensions found in these poems provoke the contemporary reader with their dynamism and dramatic nature, their condensation of meanings and tensions.

Liebert’s poetry features angels who are not the winged creatures of Christian iconography, but a completely new quality, a relational drama, a concretisation of extreme situations. Everyday objects are participants in the process of transience. Paradoxically, the experience of the passage of time does not answer any questions about the meaning of existence, but leads instead to acceptance of the process of things passing on, revealing itself as meaning in itself. Formal rigorism brought to absolute perfection endows this poetry with lightness and musicality, something recognised by Karol Szymanowski, the Polish composer who, between 1930-1933, wrote a two-part cantata entitled Litany To The Virgin Mary op.59 in which he set Liebert’s poetry to music. It was this cantata he once referred to as his ‘deepest, most condensed piece’.

In 2008, Sir Simon Rattle recorded this work with the City of Birmingham Orchestra, which went on to win the prestigious Gramophone Classical Music Awards.

Anna Szczepan-Wojnarska, translated by Marek Kazmierski

Selected samples

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歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
作者:沃伊切赫·維德瓦克(Wojciech Widłak), 插圖:亞歷珊德拉·克珊諾夫斯卡(Aleksandra Krzanowska)
文字:莫妮卡·烏特尼-斯特魯加瓦(Monika Utnik-Strugała), 概念和插圖:皮歐特·索哈(Piotr Socha)
作者:亞格涅絲卡·斯特爾馬什克(Agnieszka Stelmaszyk)
尤安娜·日斯卡(Joanna Rzyska)、阿嘉妲·杜德克(Agata Dudek)、瑪格熱妲·諾瓦克(Małgorzata Nowak) Druganoga出版社,華沙2021
艾麗莎·皮歐特夫斯卡(Eliza Piotrowska)
米科瓦伊·帕辛斯基(Mikołaj Pasiński)、瑪格熱妲·赫爾巴(Gosia Herba)
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
瑪麗安娜·奧克雷亞克(Marianna Oklejak)
拉法爾·科希克(Rafał Kosik)
亞歷珊德拉·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Aleksandra Woldańska-Płocińska)
巴托米耶·伊格納邱克(Bartłomiej Ignaciuk), 阿嘉塔·洛特-伊格納邱克(Agata Loth-Ignaciuk)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
羅珊娜·延澤耶夫斯卡-弗魯貝爾 (Roksana Jędrzejewska-Wróbel)
作者:普舎米斯瓦夫·維赫特洛維奇(Przemysław Wechterowicz) 插圖:艾米莉·吉烏巴克(Emilia Dziubak)
尤斯提娜·貝納雷(Justyna Bednarek) 插圖:丹尼爾·德拉圖爾(Daniel De Latour)
尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
瑪格熱妲·斯文多夫斯卡(Małgorzata Swędrowska)、尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
Jan Kochanowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Olga Tokarczuk
Władysław Stanisław Reymont
An Ancient Tale
Stanisław Rembek
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Maria Dąbrowska
Stefan Żeromski
Bronisław Wildstein
Zbigniew Herbert / Wisława Szymborska
Karol Wojtyła
Wiesław Myśliwski
Czesław Miłosz
Anna Świrszczyńska / Melchior Wańkowicz
Tadeusz Borowski / Gustaw Herling-Grudziński
Wiesław Helak
Góra Tabor
Adriana Szymańska
Paweł Rzewuski
Mariusz Staniszewski
Staniszewski_Kartel
Radek Rak
Agla
Urszula Honek
Honek
Kazimierz Orłoś
Orlos
Rafał Wojasiński
Tefil
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Grzegorzewska_drama
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Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Piatkowski_Oleksicki_Ekspozytura
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
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Mackiewicz_Droga
Józef Mackiewicz
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Witold Szabłowski
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Andrzej Muszyński
Muszynski_Dom-ojcow
Wiesław Helak
Helak
Bartosz Jastrzębski
Jastrzebski_Dies-irae
Dariusz Sośnicki
Sośnicki_Po-domu
Łukasz Orbitowski
Orbitowski_chodz
Jakub Małecki
Malecki_SO
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jakub Małecki
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
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Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
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Paweł Huelle
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Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
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Rembek
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Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło

69

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Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
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Olanda
Wojciech Kudyba
Kudyba
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Jerzy Liebert
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