Józef Baran (Poland)

Józef Baran (Poland)
 
Józef Baran was born in Borzęcin in 1947. He studied at the Teacher ‘s Training College in Krakow, and first poems published in 1969. Baran is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Nasze najszczersze rozmowy (1974), Dopóki jeszcze (1976), Na tyłach świata (1977), W błysku zapałki (1979), Pędy i pęta (1984), Skarga (1988), Czułość (1988), 115 wierszy (1994), Majowe zaklęcie (1997, Dom z otwartymi ścianami (2001), A wody płyną i płyną (2004), Taniec z ziemią (2006), Rondo (2008), Szczęście w czapce niewidce (2015) and 10 volumes of selected poems. He has also published essays, diaries: Koncert dla nosorożca (2003), Przystanek marzenie (2007), Podróże z tej i nie z tej ziemi (2009), Spadając patrzeć w gwiazdy (2012) and about a hundred of articles in newspapers in Poland and abroad. He is awarded Polish poet; i.a. has won the Kościelski Foundation Prize in Geneva, has read his poetry at the United Nations in New York in 2000. Baran’s poems were translated into English, German, Galician, Hebrew, Swedish, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Hungarian. His books in English: Late Confession (1997), In a Flash (2000), in Spanish: Casa de parades abiertas, Antologia poetica 1974 – 2006 (2007), in German: Treffung (2003).
 
 
A Postcard from the Old World
 
here’s a little farmhouse
propped up
by a withered thistle
with one window staring blindly
at the past
 
a pile of stones under the window
(or maybe they are only
the stony tears of the old woman
who for years
looked out the window
onto the road
until in the end
she was brought out
to the cemetery
where she became overgrown)
 
from the bushes of forsaken lilac
droop
the black paws of death
 
 
 
My Mother’s Church
 
the church was my mother’s
theater
there on the stage
before the main altar
actors in chasubles played
their classical parts
so many bells trinkets candelabra were there
 
the church choir was my mother’s
philharmonic
the parish priest conducted it from the altar
the altar boys jingled
the sexton tolled the bells
before the concert
 
she knelt down
put on her glasses
her fingers rough and thick
cracked from manure
grew slim and beautiful
(for a moment they even
forgot pots and pans)
 
***
because she liked poetry
she opened her prayer book
and letter by letter
flew toward paradise
 
 
 
The First Snow
 
the first snow is falling
and the quiet music of childhood
rises to the sky
I think of first things
that can’t be repeated
of incidents
pure as spring water
that are already behind me
I try to remember
their lushness taste and smell
the first snow is falling
I stand in the window
I feel old
 
 
 
Air
– for Sophia
 
you are
like air
invisible yet indispensable
the house breathes you
your countless
poppy-seed chores
 
you are like silence
which contains everything
and like health
 
I’ve never lost you
so
I don’t know
what you’re really like
 
 
 
Posing for a Photograph
 
we want to immortalize ourselves against the ruins
but we are only negatives
which in a moment will dissolve
undeveloped
like those who posed here
before us
and those after us
 
only the temple of Apollo
which has stood here for four thousand years
will come out clear
 
Translation: Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough

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