Mother departs by Tadeusz Różewicz


Mother departs by Tadeusz Różewicz

Polish prose and poetry

Original  title Matka odchodzi

Translated by Barbara Bogoczek

Source – review copy

Tadeusz Różewicz is one of the foremost Polish poets and writer ,he was a solider in the polish underground army ,and after the war which he lost his brother Janusz ,Tadeusz Różewicz  he has written Poetry ,Prose and plays  his early play the card index is considered the first example of the Theatre  of absurd in polish .In 2007 he one the European literature prize ,Mother departs also won the Nine prize in Poland the sort of  polish booker prize .He is considered the last of what was called Poland’s golden age poets .

So mother departs is one of those books that is hard to pigeon-hole ,Like a number of other polish books I ve read this tends to blur the lines .Memoir ,prose ,diaries poems and photos all form a rememberance built by Tadeusz Różewicz  to his late mother ,she died of cancer in 1957 ,this book written in 2000 is an older man looking back on his connection to his mother ,his mothers legacy ,through him and through his late brother .The effect feels like a lid being lifted on the innermost workings of a family and the Matriarch of that family  .Now many of you that read this blog may know or those that know me via twitter I struggle at times with poetry so for the poetry in this book it is hard for me to benchmark it as good or bad .I like them the style is quite short and clipped there is spaces in his words that I felt I had to fill in if you know what I mean .


I look through the window

with its pink flower frame


Outside the cats are getting drenched

and my old mother

draws some murky water

with saintly hands


In the window with a sly smile

her son stands


In the window  with a sly smile

her son stands


One of the poems that I connected to a bit .

Now the prose pieces I feel better placed to mention and comment on ,I found the first pieces called the village of my childhood ,quite enticing ,the way it described a the village of his youth .A fly in amber the old ways are brought to the fore ,in a piece that remembers the  village he grew up in ,this is all the more because it isn’t  Tadeusz piece no this prose piece was written by his late mother and is heart-warming and heart aching at the same time .We see the brothers go to war ,only grabbing chance visits with his mother during the war as they fought the Nazis ,then we see Tadsuz try to become a writer in the post war Poland ,he has been a writer that has according to the polish version of his wiki page has transcended genre at times ,interested in many styles of writing but never quite being pigeon holed and this is how I would describe the piece and feel of this book ,yes memoir ,yes prose poetry .But not fully either ,one could almost say the reportage that Polish writers post world war two have often been known for the likes of Kapuscinski or Stasiuk are well-known ,has been turned internally on to  the family trying to find what the mother was and what she meant  to her family .by bring together pieces from all the family to try to grasp the meaning of being a mother in the Poland of the time a shifting world from independence in 1918 ,through the dark war years and the into the bleak Post war communist times .But be easy to see this as bleak but no this book is littered with a humour that is dark and the sort that laughs at the bad times .

Mother’s eyes which can see everything watch the birth watch throughout life and watch after death from the “other world ” .Even if they turned her son into a killing machine or a beast a murderer mother’s eyes are looking at him with love …looking

From the piece now ,don’t all mothers have love in their eyes .

Well I’m not sure I ve put over the full beauty of this book ,because it is .We all have Mothers or a maternal figure within or lives and if I could write something like this about my mother to go through time as a remembrance and testament  to her ,I would be proud .I like thanks Joanne of stork who had invited me to the above event that video is from but it was a couple of days after I was in london shame would love to have met the man ,he is a true great and talent .


Do you have a favourite book on mothers ?

Now I am 40

Now I am 40

I can get wishful for my youth

Now I am 40

I can go oh and eh when I stand once in a while

Now I am 40

I can say it wasn’t like that in my day

now I am 40

I can happily buy clothes at m&s

now I am 40

I can say what is that noise

now I am 40

I can admit I not read every book I want to

now I am 40

my life begins

now I am 40

I cansay its the new 30

now I am 40

I may listen to what people say .

As you see I turned 40 yesterday ,I want to try and find the serious books I may have missed those gems of literature that have passed me by can you help  what can you suggest because

now I am 40

I can ask for help with books


national poetry day – the book of things by Ilhan Berk

Ilhan Berk was turkey’s foremost poet a member of the post modernist ,he was a leading light in the second new genration of Turkish poets ,Salt publishing has published a number of his works in translation including this one translated by the Aanglo Turkish poet George Messo,his style is sparce ,visual using ppictures and photos ,avant grade but approachable ,he lived most of his life in Bodrum and Died in 2008 ,as the theme for National poetry day is Home ,I thought of Ilhan Berks long Poem – House


House rings instantly at the door of the world’s rich images.


House:privileged existence.


House is a grand metaphor :both right beside us.and at the end of the earth .


The house is you.


House is your homeland


Our name ,house


The house has no one.


Everything talks at home .


Stairs either go up,or down


At home the door is either opeen or closed.


The house is tight lipped.


Language is the house.

House stores time and lives.


Narrow paths feed the house.


A great dream: to be at home .


House :throne of the unconscious.


House is the world .

this is the first part of long poem called House .

love  clever Typography ,his use of language ,which has been wonderfully brought alive in English by George Messo ,simple at times but like a magic eye picture full of depth and hidden meanings the more you read theem ,if you want a collection that will stick with you to next National poetry day and beyond try this one .

three lions roar a short poem by winstonsdad

A short poem by myself  for today –

Three lions ,

Three lions roar on the veldt ,

A  dad tightens his belt ,

Dreams rest on our wayne ,

meanwhile dads on the wain ,

A flash of yellow but we re not bittter ,

Dad hits the bitter yellow nectar ,

Full time whistle three lion roar ,

A dad whistle as he snores ,

three lion on the veldt ,

three lions in wait !

poem by STU.J.ALLEN .

a short poem for today

Garden of silica by Ida Vitale pt1


Ida is from Uruguay and considered one of the leading female voices from south america ,she has won the Octavio Paz prizes for her poetry ,she lived in Uruguay til 1973 and since in exile first in Mexico then U.S.A. ,this collection on salt is the first of her works to be translated ,she started writing poetry in 1949 and still writes ,she was part of what was known as the generation of 45 that included a number of brazilian poets ,where they drew on surrealism and symbolism . this first post is about the early poems in the book .

A poem quote –


standing on the serpents box ,

the queen ,lifted by the angels

or demons,goes behind the sorcery .

A trail of pins has opened for her

so she may dance on their tips……..

the opening of Queen sphinx .

My view –

The opening few poems in this collection,show Ida’s sparse use of language like a branch whittled done to make something fine and wonderfully fragile at the same time ,there is a bit of surreal /magic realism you would expect from a south american poet /writer ,there is also a feeling of the domestic world of a female talk of kitchens a list of a daily routine imagined as a poem .A recurring theme is labyrinths ,the desert labyrinth ,the island labyrinth .this collection is part of salts earthwork collection  ,the book has been loving translated by the two translators Katherine Hedeen and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and you feel the spirit of the original work without any chunkiness ,that you sometimes find in translated poetry .

Next time i ll bring the middle section and see if mexico influences Ida’s poetry .

Juan Ramón Jiménez poet

As national poetry month is nearly over I d thought i d highlight another poet i like Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958)  the andalusian poet who used the french pure poetry style and wrote quite short poems he won the nobel prize in 1956 and is regarded as one of spains greatest poets .These poems were translated by J B Trend and J L Gill in the sixties .

Juan Ramón Jiménez


    a stream is flowing in the depths

      of my spirit ,undermining me

      I can hardly maintain

      my strength.No help comes to me

       from Heaven .Even stars

       decive me :none are there

        above me ,only below me ,in the depths ..


            Am i ? i shall be !

      I shall be – turned to a ripple

    on the stream of memory . . .


     With you ,flowing water !


       Juan Ramón Jiménez                                                                                                                                      

March 2023


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