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Four Poems by Jadwiga Malina

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Banach


A Hunt at Water’s Edge

Rushing browns. Ochres. Crimsons.
Cinnabars falling to the ground. On vaults.
On walls. In the fire. Scratching and wallowing.

Down below some shrubs, a lake, or maybe a river.
Taut backs of shadows. To be so close to the shimmer.
At dusk. At dawn. All that. Then. And now.
To kneel before it. To lap at it. To draw from it.

We, who know how to squint and know
The secret paths of a fox. The shallow scribbles of its paws
On sticky banks strewn with flowers. On precipices.




It surprised us among rabbits. When quails with mincing
Feet raised their whistles. And it was innocent like a lamb.
Like a lost sheep. It fell into our arms.
Made itself at home. At the health clinic they said that war was coming.
We should stock provisions in our basements. But the next
Day the world still existed. It kept growing. Filling the earth.
Mothers radiated gently, chopping giblets.



Wars and Signs

They never came suddenly. Some
Were preceded by comets, others by two-headed calves.
Those signs made milk go sour,
Made teeth and ears hurt.
Apples in orchards as many as poppy seeds,
As mushrooms in forests,
As swallows in flight, cats on rooftops.
And only boys are born. By thousands.
With bright eyes and foreheads. In uniforms.
And then silence comes. The great silencing.
Old women walk the road. Snow falls on them.


About a Bee

All this buzzing thoroughness as far as the eye can see.
From seed sockets to the tips of blackberries.
All these wonders wading into the world.
All kinds of pollinating grains. Shedding seeds. All this, far and wide.
Where will it come from and where will it go when you are here no more.



Jadwiga Malina is a Polish poet, editor, and a poetry event organizer. She published eight books of poems. Her poems were featured in most important Polish literary magazines and translated into Russian, Serbian, Slovenian and English. She was nominated to several pre-eminent literary prizes in Poland.

She serves as a board member of Polish Poetry Society, Kraków-branch.


Joanna Banach is a writer, activist, and a translator from Polish to English.

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