Jacek Jaszczyk (Poland)

 
Jacek Jaszczyk (Poland)
 
Born in 1972 in Grudziądz. His writing has been published in the likes of: Gazeta Grudziądzka, Gazeta Pomorska, Ilustrowany Kurier Polski, Dziennik Pojezierza, Grudziądzkie Arkusze Literackie, Przegląd Artystyczno-Literacki, Helikopter, Tlen Literacki, Salon Literacki, Latarnia Morska, Wydawnictwo J, Obszary Przepisane, Akant, Fabularie, Afront, Topos, Pismo Literackie. Epea, Migotania, LiryDram, Autograf, Poezja dzisiaj, Wyspa, Akcent and Odra.
 
His poems have also been published in Polish publications in Ireland, where he is currently based – incl. Polska Gazeta, Kurier Polski, Ambasador Kulturalny, Nasz Głos, Magazyn MiR, Rocznik Towarzystwa Irlandzko-Polskiego and Ukraina literacka, issued in Ukraine.
 
Journalist, radio DJ, civic activist. Founder of the first Polish radio program in Ireland, broadcast by Radio Sunrise, Anna Livia Dublin City FM and Dublin City FM. Co-creator, co-founder and chief editor of the Polish radio for Poles in Ireland, including Radio PLka, PLK FM and Radio PL. Co-creator, co-founder and chief editor of the Polish TV station NTV and iTVe. Member of Grupa Literyczna Na Krechę, under the auspices of the Polish Writers’ Association. Co-organiser and host of the Dublin Literary Salon in Ireland.
 
His works have been published in numerous anthologies, including MOSTY Antologia poetów Warszawa – Mińsk / Białoruś (Wydawnictwo Książkowe IBiS, 2019), Antologia poetów Warszawa – Mediolan / Sondrio (Wydawnictwo Książkowe IBiS, 2019), Antologia poetów Warszawa – Brześć / Białoruś (Wydawnictwo Książkowe IBiS, 2020), Antologia Poetów Polskich 2018 (Wydawnictwo Pisarze.pl, 2019). His poems have been translated into Italian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and English. He took part in the UNESCO World Poetry Days and the Festival of Slavonic Poetry.
 
Winner of the prestigious contest „WYBITNY POLAK” in Ireland in 2019, Fundacji Polskiego Godła Promocyjnego “Teraz Polska” in the PERSONALITY category. Winner of the World Poetry Day UNESCO 2020 Award. Nominated by the Editorial Board of Gazeta Pomorska, Express Bydgoski and Nowości Dziennika Toruńskiego for the title PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 2019-2020 in the CULTURE category.
 
He is actively engaged in working with the Polish community in Ireland, trying each day as widely and as finely to promote his fatherland – Poland – in Ireland.
 
 
***
 
Maybe – only this left of certainty
And to still be: where a flight to Poland
Through windows drafts and gusts of wind
Kilometres of skin peeling from boots
Lichen on the shirt – cloud dandruff
Continents and waters not on the way
Where a hand folded in a bow
And braided pollution spat into the sky
The harp still playing – one bell before the last
A bee cocoon escaping through woods and falling
You hear? Tarpno audible neath the hand
Water witches lighting suns in their eyes
A wooden shade covered the garden with pears
Mulberries hanging over the guttering like moths
Roof tiles justified – burnt out grasses
When in the peacock eye autumn forecasts birds
A sign of the eagle and frog song on the water
A wrinkled farmer brought a Colorado beetle
Followed by a cramp
Fish – swimming down veins cross streets
Moon – entering windows and rotting
Forgive me Poland this subcutaneous dream:
and this scream which moulded me into a migrant
 
 
Port City (Dublin)
 
the aquatorium is not asleep
lifting the world’s sins between cranes
imperfection closed like a fist
battling between shipping containers
 
muscular structures of elliptical silos
conduct nonphysical pain cross junctions
twisting the maimed lever arches
into greasy rust
 
the unsaid cut down the middle
epistrophy in a word
the remains of air spatout
by elderly workers
swelling on branches of electric light
smoke filled rooms in water towers
screaming steamerengines roaring
with moon fire
 
cranes stretched with the twang of cast steel
are not reminiscent of flower stems transported
by Holyhead planks
the aquatorium is not asleep
 
lifting between cranes the sins of the night
sprinkled with piles of burnt out dreams
conscience dying beneath the skin
a shade of metaphysics
 
 
***
 
earth black bony
birds fleeing cold caves
 
water
as muddy as the eye of an elderly Athenry woman
pours forth from bony roots
 
folds of emerald wanderings
cross lifeless turf
horses chomp on
upon hooves as flabby as thickets
 
next door
in a room where they buried
wars waged by early Celts
we now know
William Butler Yeats was right
– ahead of us corporeal eternity
 
in silver dusts
the ribbon of our births
 
 
The First letter to Oisín
 
I saw fear hanging over city lines
lightning animals running through it
 
and I heard the stone: armed with granite voice
spooked it trembled with emotion pecked by birds
 
coming close to our windows: the frames guarding it mistrustfully
and the glassy eye of the door fixed on the flash of firmament
 
and then they once more wanted to dream a scream of horizon
naked chimneys over the ashen shore of tide
 
when the Vistula predawn touch vanished
spilled across Dublin station with a rain of pearls
 
 
April
 
the Irish spring spoke at the riverside
in the crowns of oaks which remember the Great Famine
 
you hear the districts dividing the city into layers
birds settling upon borderlines
 
the other side of the wall Oscar Wilde looks into someone’s house windows
measuring time with the sum of afterglow
 
April is bright like a procession song
like the green of Charlize Theron’s eyes
 
when we touch Good Friday
a century has passed from the Easter Rising
 
a helicopter hanging over the river
people dressed as sharks filming themselves dancing
 
the cold war ended in an abandoned cinema
subsequent battles do not absolve us of sin
 
at noon as the sun bustles
beams shoot down the roadsides
a pilgrimage breathing in its sounds
 
and queen Elizabeth’s armies marching past
when humanity becomes us
 
we still do not understand landing in space
and whether the last footstep on the Moon
was the beginning of our salvation
 
 
Morgana Le Fay
 
I breathe beneath your skin
And when you hide your dream in me
 
I am uncovered by the drum rhythms
Of Irish Brigands
 
The Winnowing Oar flows through me
Blindly when turned from the sun
 
Like the Cimmerian you lie in me
With cold song Calypso
 
Or perhaps like Hermes overgrown with meadow
You will beget me indestructibly
 
Afore in extinguished corners
Of the Celtic Alban Eilir
 
The bruised depths of our oceans
Will sail away before Ēostre arrives
 
 
The Book of Invasions
 
I look upon myself from a cold wall,
through the murky night and the cold of a felled forest.
 
Where did water and fertility deities get to,
the woodcutter’s hut, lake of rosin and tannins.
Lead mines deceased between villages.
 
The Sons’ Meadow still calls from druid songs,
from the bright world’s shining,
Airbus craft vanishing in it.
 
Here, where Mike Oldfield is silent in the message
hidden in his Tubular Bells,
next to St. Kieran
founding a monastery in Clonmacnoise,
a burnt out tree smelling of poetry.
 
The Gauls still gather in Lugdunum,
Celts in Tara cry upon my birthday,
cheering my dying.
 
 
In statu nascendi
 
You sleep at the end of town, while I
– touching scratches on the glass – think
of Franciszek Starowieyski’s purgatory Soul
and the concert by Mademoiselle Carmel & The Zebras
stripping the First Night of the Museums of clouds
 
Between morning buses
I wonder about the colour of walls
in the Yellow House at Arles
and the razor van Gogh used to cut off his ear
 
Ever since then the Chinaman Xiaoyong Zhao
painting for the hundred thousandth time with his family
a picture became an artist
and several pedestrians upon Alkmaar’s stony lanes
– poets
 
 
An Icelandic verse
 
You write about the long nights in Iceland,
empty walls murmuring in a broken heart
and a failed assassination attempt at one’s own loneliness.
 
In a photo of the Northern Lights
you are the burnt red of the sun,
which barely lifts over the top of the horizon
covering the silence of windows cut out of the darkness.
 
As we talk – writing
between continents ripped dreams fall asleep
taken from Keflavik airport
by exhausted aeroplanes.
 
Now the sky lit by a million
glistening scratches –
bengalese fires, spheres of colour,
flare sparks – scream her name.
 
And tomorrow –
you will once more feed
all the coming departures,
arriving at the world of the living.
 
 
***
 
in lofotr where viking bones
I listen to myself – I am jarl’s voice
in a painting of beerenberg volcano the northern lights explode
shoals sailing off by boat from gokstad along its edge
warriors trampling fiery sparks
battles dying
and wars in the arms of divinities
hatchets turning to stone in them
a pilgrimage vanishing along the seaside
in the image of silence from orkad
exodus rips the earth
altars floating away upon canoes
 
 
***
 
I’m not sleeping.
Through the walls I hear neighbours
wrapped in thin paper,
blow out words twisted into forgetting.
 
They tell of life after life
and lonely stones lying at the doors to Balscadden House.
 
Glued to the wall I drink green tea.
From the height of emergency lights,
skyscraper roofs look down upon me,
my thoughts leaping across them.
 
I count them like kangaroos on a cushion
though I share out some sugar
with the crows.
 
Ever since I filled all the gaps with nights
they want to be friends with my verses
condemned to eternal understatement.
 
 
A letter to the receptionist at the House of Literature I
 
I write to you, madam, because I have not taken
any of our conversations onto the plane with me,
nor any of the colours
glued to the light.
In Ireland the rain falls
differently upon words
the moon firing up faster.
On the top floor,
in a room where Nałkowska
wrote from the heart,
into bedsheets wrapped in dreams
dreamt by a Ukrainian poet,
I sewed on a few poems.
Next to plaster which the dawn tore down,
in the doorways of townhouses: Prażmowskich and John’s,
where October like rococo materials,
dreamt within me
going through a dream journal.
I write and do not protest
that someone alike you, madam,
made sounds, which
still root in the accordion’s
memory.
And that same person,
not being all the more me,
tossed coins of rain.
In their eyes Praga
as old as the fingerprints of dead
poets, constantly shouts
about the dirty water in Powiśle,
and bacteria stuck to
all the glasses in Dublin.
As if all those grey waters
had proof and convictions
that it was an act of collective murder,
upon all the moments shut up
in the windows of the House of Literature.
 
 
A letter to the receptionist at the House of Literature II
 
Your writing, madam, is becoming ever warmer.
In the poem’s image, an exclamation mark
falling from an unfinished colour,
being like a stone shard.
Perhaps as lava was cooling
he issued a scratch into the world,
the one you order me to walk along,
just like the giant Finn McCool,
who wanted to cross over to Scotland
in this same way, when
cutting gravestones he created
fragments of this moment.
Do not be mad.
I have to talk about us
to our unwritten poems,
and all the crevices in which
the missing words are hiding.
Let all the basalt roses
and rock sun burn, sparklers
to ashes between commas
before being everywhere
and nowhere all at once,
the whole world coming to us,
collapses like springtime in Kalamaja
and the art of poetry from Beijing.
 
 
A letter to the receptionist at the House of Literature IV
 
I am sending you, madam, a photograph of the night.
A handful of gleaming
Irish stars.
All the more shadow in them
and all the more empty their screams.
I feel how with each flash
at a word’s reach,
the universe’s arrhythmia is squeezed.
How all her sparks
become stones
lying on the streets of our
homelands, the moon
throwing itself at our windows.
No, I am not blaming you
for the hail upon the windows and the lake
in which that fear matured,
nor even the trees,
over which the voices of comets
were sprinkled.
I am sending you a photo of the night,
and a beam in which this dream
dies between us.
 
A letter to the receptionist at the House of Literature V
 
I write to you, madam,
because it is raining again in Dublin,
and the days are more and more uncertain.
I listen to the sea
through cracked shells
and hear the tide rising
within me.
On the shore the eyes of dead fish
fall into the clouds.
I wipe off the horizon with my hand,
to make the darkness bright,
like a stain in a wound
of a Vietnamese woman,
who on a photograph of napalm
was brought here from Vietnam by a neighbour.
The same one as in the image of the Indochinese war,
cut with the edge of ultraviolet,
losing their sense of existence.
I write to you for here
humans are like wild beasts to each other.
I listen to the sea
turning more and more metallic,
choosing a way of dying for myself:
I would like to die from loss of memory,
pouring deadly lead
into the heart of a poem.
 
 
Letter from emigration I
 
1.
Once again, I dreamt of poems.
They knocked on my door, faces covered.
Perhaps they were your fear of my tomorrow
or else the voice of a conscience
shut up in a basement.
The nights dead,
you resurrected through them in me
awaiting the dawn between commas.
 
2.
I was born in the cracks of a poem
and am transparent.
Having been raked clean of the dust of syllables,
in the roots of words indented knots,
I do not trust branches,
the ones the colons of crow eyes
rush off into their penultimate journey.
 
3.
The sea breathes in me with the
Evangelist of Lindisfarne.
The last words uttered by
St. Patrick enclosed in the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus.
A chill shut up in the windows of the Castle in Glenveagh,
among the peaks of Skellig Michael,
mosses decomposing in us belated verses.
 
4.
I touch your voice through a pane of glass.
Maybe it’s a passing set of butterfly wings in Straffan
or else the tear of an emotional dragonfly.
A crow has settled on the windowsill – the murmur of my solitude.
Picking at the starry beads,
he asked if I am Aristoteles’ breath.
 
5.
Snaefellsjokull, Carrauntoohil, Castle Hill.
All thoughts lead towards you.
In a moment your world will rise.
Doing its hair in windows, walking the dog.
A kettle will pour fourth promises.
And then by a cup filled with rain it will say
– I dreamt of your funeral.
Please forgive my lateness.
 
6.
William Butler Yeats came in the morning.
We talked of the birth of the arts in Sandymount
in Dublin’s suburbs and the shadow of the Ben Bulben mountain.
I heard, that in the lands of Sidhe,
heroes of the past are still at large.
Maybe we can walk through motley grasses
plucking silver moon apples,
and golden sun apples.
 
7.
Rowan-berries tumble across the horizon.
The air reminiscent of a walk along the Vistula.
Emigration is a sort of funeral,
the kind life goes on after.
 
 
Letter from emigration II
 
1.
Scouts and pigeons flying in greet us.
 
In their songs all roads lead to Rome.
Us – through wilds plucked from the silence of the Tiber
are led by the Path of Reconciliation.
 
Rains ring in the arms of one hundred and forty saints.
I think of pope Francis
standing in the window of the Apostolic Palace
and our gazes which have been shut up in his hands.
 
A few moments later talking with myself alone,
I will hear a voice, which will say:
– Let the stones of condemnation fly from our hands.
 
2.
Fear has been crucified in the Colosseum.
You speak of the gods residing in the Pantheon
looking at the sky through its roof.
 
I feel uncertain.
In Pannini’s painting, oculus can’t hold back the rain.
Only the columns embraced by pagans will survive
and the lonely paths of emigration.
 
Between Bernini’s Ephesus and the Mouth of Truth,
my grave is born.
 

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