Each season we share a series of translated work from a particular country, as part of our mission to share voices you may not yet know! Building bridges, creating conversations across borders… making a whole with Fragmented Voices. Today, we are delighted to bring you some Polish poems, translated into English. Enjoy!

Three poems by Ilona Witkowska

Translated by Mircea Dan Duta


not wanting to sleep,
not wanting to work

building yourself chapels
while something is still lurking me here

there’s a free way
but just step on it

equation without three knowns /  

the sun of May was burning my head

(even if by reflex I use the form “us”,
I was alone that time)

(using by reflex the form “us”,
who did I actually mean?)

the best is where we just are,
for it’s actually us and no one else /

when I was a little girl, granny used to teach me
trample earthworms and just don’t worry about the thing;
she used to say: oh, yes! oh yes!

Prose Poems by Barbara Klicka

Translated by David Malcolm


A start like a recipe for spring. I was going a long journey in a fast car. Everywhere there were clouds, I appreciated the value of the sun-roof. We passed some storks, so I said:

look, storks. He said: you’re happy like a little kid. Stupid, I said, I’m happy like a little kid, because you’re speaking to me like to a woman in April, be my friend, I want to be aglow from that. Then

I called the witnesses on the spot, e-mails, ballets. All in pretty big quantities, because nothing stubbornly would do for me. Doesn’t matter, because the calendar resurrection’s on the way

for this I’ll bring the world a cheesecake.
Let them all love me, since you can’t.


A dream of seven nails in the skull. I hesitate – for none of the possibilities is ready for sense. My father says: think, you don’t cry out. I say to my father: cry out, don’t think. I live free as the wind, she feeds me.

And now look – I’ve picked up seven nails for my dance; seven guys from the Albatros and one dead girl. I lived over brow, over tit, over the wise stream, but the time came when they threw me out and led me to the field.

And in the field the harness goes on. Hi hi, the harness goes on in the field. Long live want and barren sand! May the grains fall to the depths of the seas, may the ponds go down in algae and black duckweed! Here the earth’s only good for covering things up.


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