Poetry
Ernest Bryll
It’s Getting Towards Evening: Unpublished Poems 2014–2020

A poetry of struggle with multiple darknesses

That Which I Do not Want

That which I do not want will be like a source
Difficult to drink from. On my knees,
But my knees are weak, my neck stiff,
Each drop in my throat protests
Till I drink with no grudge,
No disgust. Just like that, gulp after gulp.
That which I do not want will be like a source.
To drink from it is not so difficult after all.
A grey-brown fish
Darts through the depths.
My shadow perhaps.

 

We Took the Breath

We took someone’s breath? For sure
And the air is again blue for us
Hem of the dawn bus stop
At the bus stop packed night already waits
With all that was and has left
Doesn’t matter that someone is so
Short of breathing – nearly crying
Both day and shade came to claim us
It’s time for us until the eve
May this star grow
To guide
When our time to depart
For it we won’t return
our gathered breaths

 

At Night Trees Bloomed

At night trees bloomed
In snow. To the full. Believe me,
They won’t bring forth any fruit
As frost will come or thaw.
But for the moment it feels good
As in: just right. Neither too late nor early.
You waited for ripe cherries
Big orchard – the world at night.
Hung on the stars
Bloom apricot, pear and apple trees,
Frosty and strong. Up to the sky arc.

Translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

Poetry
Ernest Bryll
It’s Getting Towards Evening: Unpublished Poems 2014–2020

A poetry of struggle with multiple darknesses

Publisher: Edycja Świętego Pawła/Instytut Literatury, Częstochowa/ Kraków 2021
Translation rights: Instytut Literatury, wydawnictwo@instytutliteratury.eu
Foreign language translations: Ernest Bryll is one of the most important contemporary poets. His works have been translated in many countries including: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, Russia, Ukraine – in anthologies.

It’s Getting Towards Evening: Unpublished Poems 2014–2020 by Ernest Bryll, born in 1935, the nestor of Polish poetry, features poems well-rooted in tradition – most importantly in the biblical tradition. What returns is an echo of the story about the road to Emaus, since it is getting towards evening, and the  speaker again and again cannot recognise Christ walking. What can be strongly sensed in this work is the rhythm, not melodious; its deliberate breakdowns transform the  poems into scenes for a bard or monologue performer. Bryll creates a poetry of struggle with multiple darknesses. He fights with the dark of his own memory, which keeps bringing forth illusions of old Poland – a country of a language and people long gone. These are also poems of struggle with the dark of the Venetian mirror, behind which sit dead viewers who do not understand much from the doings of those still alive. This suggestive metaphor leads Bryll to catastrophic conclusions about the modern world: the big City, choking on the forbidden Word. Hence his most recent poetry, though hiding behind rhythms at times hurdy-gurdy, bears witness to the horrific grotesque produced by contemporary people. They wrestle with the Word, “which is best left unknown,” which causes a “sore throat”: “That’s why in our city/ we constantly cough. Grunt and wheeze.” The City-Poland, similarly to the Besieged City of Zbigniew Herbert, published under the communist regime, is still under siege. The enemy does not lurk with weapons or threaten with tanks. Bryll formulates a bitter diagnosis: contemporary Europeans themselves have become a besieged city; they have shut themselves off behind the walls of self-censorship, political correctness, which sentences language and its most perfect form, poetry, to slow death. More and more often words do not refer us to objects; basic biblical signs are rendered illegible: “The star that led us has grown bald.”

Ireneusz Staroń

Translated by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

Selected samples

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Urszula Honek
Honek
Radek Rak
Agla
Mariusz Staniszewski
Staniszewski_Kartel
Paweł Rzewuski
Adriana Szymańska
Kazimierz Orłoś
Orlos
Rafał Wojasiński
Tefil
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Grzegorzewska_drama
Józef Mackiewicz
Mackiewicz_Sprawa
Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Piatkowski_Oleksicki_Ekspozytura
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
Józef Mackiewicz
Mackiewicz_Droga
Józef Mackiewicz
Mackiewicz_Bunt-rojstow
Witold Szabłowski
Szablowski_Rosja-od-kuchni
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
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
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

Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
HKD
Jakub Małecki
Malecki_Horyzont
Łukasz Orbitowski
Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Olanda
Wojciech Kudyba
Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Bienczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Majewski
Weronika Murek
Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Swietek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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