Leszek Elektorowicz
The Path to the Kingdom

A wonderful testament to the power and vitality of metaphysical poetry


Time is and is
Time does not pass it lasts Omnipresent
in place and infinity beyond dimensions:
below particles above the cosmos
stars and galaxies
at the crossroads of heavenly roads where waves
and rays emerge immovable yet moving
without substance without extent
immeasurable down a hollow slope
numbers run along rising
without end and sans distance
in boundless space from source to
infinity to the highest number which
is the

My shadow

My long shadow Gets ahead of me
I run breathless after it tripping over
it drags behind it shadows of days gone
and those which are not to come though
they crowd with effort. Vertically falling, my
shadow circles and drills beneath me
sidewalks heated sparking prizes open a hole
in the earth barren and dark
penetrating it tightly to a point

Narrow Gauge

Let me not be collected by a golden
carriage nor by any chariot drawn by
heavenly horses let me not be
collected by a space rocket
its flight marking out numerous
courses and do not let salvoes
honour me
let me not be seen off by too many mourners
let their lips not sing forth commonplace
exaltations there is one route I will choose
to reach my destination
a narrow gauge railway ride into the
promised asking for two seats in it fore I
kneel before the Lord

translated by Marek Kazmierski

Leszek Elektorowicz
The Path to the Kingdom

A wonderful testament to the power and vitality of metaphysical poetry

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Arcana, Kraków 2018
Translation rights: Leszek Elektorowicz, arcana@poczta.internetdsl.pl

The late late Leszek Elektorowicz turned 95 years old this year. Born in Lwów, this ’old guy’ (as he described himself humorously in his new poem titled Post Scriptum) suffered from illness and loss of vision, yet still expressed himself with a clarity not often found in poetry written by much younger poets. His work is marked by a gentle, moving eschatology, ‘extreme situations’, valour in the face of death. The author does not deny that faith in God helps him find meaning in existence. Fate has not spared him terrible wartime experiences, such as when he lost both his beloved city and his father (Tato), and was forced to evade ‘barbarian hordes’ by moving ever westward. Unlike many of his wartime contemporaries, who were not so lucky, he managed to avoid the traps set by the Communist secret police (Portret, Łączka, Droga). At university, he studied English Literature, introducing Polish readers to the likes of Edgar Lee Masters, William Carlos Williams, D. H. Lawrence, Percy Bysshe Shelley, W. H. Auden and Allen Ginsberg (Howl).

Ścieżka do Królestwa [The Path to the Kingdom] is his poetic last will and testament, summary, and recapitulation. Most of the poems in this collection praise life: a decent, balanced life, in which love triumphs over complaints, mercy over revenge, faith over despair or execration. Many of the verses look at the phenomenon of time (time is, it doesn’t pass), immeasurable, inextensible, unchanging, in spite of the apparent finiteness of material existence. Time is an extra-terrestrial dimension, cosmic, and the Cosmos a place for immortal souls (‘heavenly bodies are not heavenly’). To this end memories suffice, memories which make up for the loss of eyesight, and lessen suffering. This collection contains very moving poems, filled with tenderness – poems about a beloved person, one the poet would like to accompany him on his final journey, riding a ‘narrow gauge railway (…), two seats in it asking before I kneel before the Lord’. And what about evil, solidarity with his buddies? Just like Miłosz and Różewicz he ponders: Unde malum? Where is the source of evil? This poet strives to answer the question differently: although he has met with much unpleasantness, has been humiliated, ignored and excluded – the sum of his life (active and brave – involvement in democratic opposition movements of the 1960s and 1970s) is positive: he is grateful for his fate and hopeful for eternal mercy, salvation; he expresses gratitude for the grace of faith. Evil deeds and evil people will vanish in the end into a ‘black hole’, ‘between racing electrons’. Just like his last volume, Rąbek Królestwa [The Edge of Kingdom], this most recent collection is one of his most important achievements, a wonderful testament to the power and vitality of metaphysical poetry.

Jerzy Gizella, translated by Marek Kazmierski

Selected samples

Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
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

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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