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Reprinted with permission from Altered State — The New Polish Poetry. Edited by Rod Mengham, Tadeusz Pióro and Piotr Szymor. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2003. Price: £10.95. This selection was chosen by Rod Mengham and John Tranter. Visit the publisher’s website.

Julia Fiedorczuk

Poem

November on the Narew

          and then we’ll come down
          and have a hangover

In spite of all I like the view from that window
when we get up sound and anglers smoke cigarettes
along the river. Thoughts crawl off across fields
scale fences and leave taking that road
opposite the house. We’re left
with the irrelevant joy of an early day
like the pearliness of forest spider-webs
or the touching stickiness of wet earth.
So many words! Sometimes
they wither stuck in old books or
stick in our throats when memories
warm as bonfire ash
in a dark and already empty forest
stand you against a wall
upside down. Since morning ever bolder
is night’s speech. Where on the ice is the spot
from the dream? Soon trees will grow sombre
so I try to rejoice in reverse. Dusk
cools fast in your eyes. And rain
is about to fall.

Translated by Tadeusz Pióro.

Julia Fiedorczuk, poet and translator, was born in 1975 and is completing her Ph.D on the poet Laura Riding. She teaches American literature and literary history at the English Department at the University of Warsaw. She is currently on a Fulbright Scholarship at Cornell University, New York.

Her publications include:

Listopad nad Narwia [November on the Narew] (Legnica: Biuro Literackie, 2000)

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