Urszula Zajączkowska

Poems that disrupt our sense of comfortable wellbeing

church. rain
you see, I didn’t actually come here to give thanks for your ever so mildly pleasing creative output, which only tires, tires me terribly.
and still nothing, however, nothing. because I here, now only sit around,
for the cloud to pass, and I will go out quietly
leaving you completely alone

with that great mystery of yours.

tall trees
for Sherwin Carlquist
it really is moving, it’s moving
that you do not see that it is you after all
who opened up the insides of trees, completely new galaxies, milky ways and distant heavenly bodies.
and you still take trips there constantly, any time you feel like it and as you like it,
(though it seems you’re most keen on walking there).

and this is how my friend
I think right now, swinging from one of those branches of

it so happens sometimes at night, that my skeleton
disrupts my sleep
with the crunching of the discs in my spinal column, as my head turns to the left or the right,
it must be loud when all else is quiet.
I don’t want to go see any doctors about it, don’t want to
go chasing it off.

I remember when you said that you really admire those who study tall trees,
because you only ever studied up close
those which were within easy reach of your hands.

Instead, I open my eyes and say to it:
“Yeah, I know, I remember.”
Translated by Marek Kazmierski

Urszula Zajączkowska

Poems that disrupt our sense of comfortable wellbeing

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Warstwy, Wrocław 2017
Translation rights: Urszula Zajączkowska, ula@botanik.pl

The poems found in minimum, Urszula Zajączkowska’s latest collection of poetry, disrupt our sense of comfortable wellbeing which insists we look at the world around us with a sense of superiority, that we think of ourselves human beings as the epicenters of the universe. Meanwhile, the poet herself rejects this anthropocentric perspective, seeming to say that we, people, are merely one of the components of nature, of life which everywhere falls prey to life, as in her poem cat dog fly and me (sacred bodies). Even the smallest fragment of matter makes room for one that is smaller, the miracle of metamorphosis omnipresent: “the yolk in the shell will produce blood, feathers and eyes, / and any earthworm fragment will always be reborn as another earthworm” (minimum).

Zajączkowska tends to present Nature in her poems as generous and sparing, linking the end and the next beginning, life and death, us and creatures without individual names. Zajączkowska could be said to echo William Blake, wanting to see the world in a grain of sand. It’s enough to have your eyes wide open… This teaches us sensitivity and humility with regards to that which exists, but above all allows us to change the angle we see things from and turn towards the invisible. That is when we will see that every green leaf is covered in myriads of creatures, and discover inside trees “completely new galaxies, milky ways and distant heavenly bodies.” (tall trees).

But how to talk of that which we try to perceive? Do we have the appropriate lexicon? The originality of Zajączkowska’s poetic imagination arises out of the constant tension between the language of science and lyricism, the precision of anatomical etchings and risky metaphors. Well, we do live in dramatic times after all. For “we still don’t have / a good language, / a precise language, / so we formulate sentences / mainly with the eyes” (jungle today – jungle tomorrow).

Karol Alichnowicz, translated by Marek Kazmierski

Selected samples

Jakub Małecki
Wiesław Myśliwski
Elżbieta Cherezińska
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
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
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


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

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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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