16 November 2010

Anna Świrszczyńska

[from Anna Świrszczyńska in Postwar Polish Poetry, ed Czeslaw Milosz, University of California, 1983]

The Same Inside

Walking to your place for a love feast
I saw at the street corner
an old beggar woman.

I took her hand
kissed her delicate cheek,
we talked, she was
the same inside as I am,
from the same kind,
I sensed this instantly
as a dog knows by its scent
another dog.

I gave her money,
I could not part from her.
After all, one needs
someone who is close.

And then I no longer knew
why I was walking to your place.

1 comment:

  1. I love Anna Swirszczynska's poetry. (Most of what I've read by her has been published under the shorter version of her last name, Swir, that she sometimes used.) I first read her work, what little bit I could find in a couple of anthologies, probably almost 30 years ago.

    The poem you've given here seems to me a particularly good example of her work, characteristic of many of her poems, so pared-down, bare-bones, so deeply felt but completely free of frivolous sentiment.

    Some time back I wrote a little about Anna Swir's (or Swirszczynska's) poetry in my blog, here, if you care to take a look.

    I also really like the poetry of Tadeusz Rosewicz (the post after this one).

    Thanks for posting these.