ron offen | my polish connection (for wislawa szymborska)

28 10 2007

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Poetry Dispatch No. 119 | November 6, 2006

The work of poet/publisher (FREE LUNCH), Ron Offen has been featured in a number of Poetry Dispatches. Today we feature him in relation to another poet, the Nobel Prize winner in literature, Wislawa Szymborska, who has also appeared on these cyber pages a number times. It’s a fascinating connection in words and identity. One is also reminded of Szymborska’s feelings about poetry:

“Poetry doesn’t save mankind or people. It is my strong belief that poetry cannot save the world. It may help the individual reader to think. It may enrich his spiritual life. Reading it one may feel a little less alone.” Norbert Blei

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MY POLISH CONNECTION (FOR WISLAWA SZYMBORSKA) by Ron Offen

Foolish to feast on your work
in bed at night with wine of candlelight,
savoring dark Slavic recipes
of your life. For little pieces fall
each time I turn a page –
sharp crumbs of insomnia.

And no use reading your words
so upright at my daytime desk, wondering
about the za czyms´ * behind the that
till they’re erased by some invisible hand,
only the sound still there, the catch
of your dry laughter at my throat.

Best to recite your lines
some bright morning after rain
along a muddy path that wanders
to a Polish village and my great-grandmother Zabinski,
one eye on the book, the other watching
for the potholes that might send me sprawling.

* za and czyms mean “the that” in Polish

First appeared in 5 A.M.

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