Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Anna Swirszczynska : poem


We were afraid as we built the bar-ricade
under fire.
The tavern-keeper, the jeweler’s mistress, the barber, all of us
The servant girl fell to the ground
as she lugged a paving stone, we were terribly afraid
all of us cowards–
the janitor, the market woman, the pensioner.

The pharmacist fell to the ground
as he dragged the door of a toilet,
we were even more afraid, the smuggler-woman,
the dress-maker the streetcar driver,
all of us cowards.

A kid from reform school fell
as he dragged a sandbag,
you see, we were really

Though no one forced us
we did build a barricade
under fire.

Written thirty years after a sixty-three day uprising in Warsaw in August 1944.

1 comment:

St Antonym said...

It is simply uncanny how accurately you zoom in on all my favorite poets.

Berger, Milosz, Zagajewski, all the others...

And, now, Anna Swir. Seeing her hallowed name here brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.