103 article(s) translated from Polish

The Ship-breakers

1 Shuel is eighteen years old, in a checked shirt hanging loose over his trousers, and with the trusting smile of a child to whom nobody has ever done any harm. Shuel and I are sunk up to our ankles in…...

Painting the Occupation

What did Suleiman Shakir paint? An abandoned house. An old man on a donkey. Children picking daffodils. The pictures didn’t need captions. Everyone knew what he was trying to tell them about the…...

Kyrgyzstan: Shade and Shadow

No Bukhara, no Samarkand, no meaning, just bare life in the rarefied air. That had been what I was after. A clarity of existence. To see sand sifting through the post-imperial rust. That would be enough…...

Balm of a Long Farewell

1 The tiny oval of Orefine has a remarkable number of canals. The island once served as a center for the islands nearby, many of them even tinier. In this network, the earth dug from the canals was used…...

A Letter to a Young Poet: On Tomasz Różycki

I Once, on a long trip, I experienced an incident that was as trivial as it was enlightening. It happened that my luggage was lost for a couple of days while I was staying in a foreign city. Because I…...

In the Evening, Love

The guy who bought the world has his five minutes and the bartender puts yet another mark by his name. What is his name? The unknit wisps of sky, like in Grójec, like in Horyniec. And snow has covered…...

This Is My Room

This is my room. The ice in the glass will melt here in a moment, will melt before the eye, and by the time the hand and fingers have felt what’s happening, an inkblot takes the page, dyes snippets…...

The Guy Who Bought the World

The guy who bought the world is out for a walk down Thirty-seventh Street. No one in the least suspects that the deal just took place and the stock exchanges keep noting each little increase, ha, ha, ha.…...

A Vacation in Basra

February 2005. Violence rages following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the southern port city of Basra is dominated by the militants of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. The British, who are stationed…...

Peshawar

I liked Peshawar. I preferred it to hot, racing Rawalpindi, or grand, haughty Islamabad. I think I preferred it to any other city in the world. Indolent in the autumn sun, it was the perfect place for…...

Ketchup

I read in the newspaper that the Apocalypse wasn’t going to happen. To celebrate this piece of good news, I went to McDonald’s and ordered a hamburger. “How fortunate,” I thought,…...

I Wish I Had a Master

               for S.F. I wish I had a master to teach me how to live, to eat with knife and fork as well as to write poems he’d tell me how the…...

Alterity

The rules are clear: no place to mill about. There’s no such thing as comfort for unhappy men. He leaves the tall house and passes through the eye of the blizzard, insignias unpinned, his neck exposed…...

only i am

it'll happen via levels and verticals, you won't even notice before a cluster of tongues has ground you, smelt from your body a thimble for death. you have no chance without me. only i am cruelty-free:…...

Adjectival Poem

Amazing spring, warm, humid and full of backlit trees in various colors, even if it’s still unclear which ones, except for the rhododendron, which one way or another stays in shape, though it’s…...

Bugging

And of course the birds go on chirping, and how! Even if they’re not chirping. Bah, wires can chirp almost as well, so it’s easy to confuse them. It’s altogether loud and sensuous, almost…...

Utensils Shrink

children grow, no doubt happily verbs swell before your eyes or burst their seams, everything does something to be happy inevitably. In Studio “Bernardi,” Łódź, 17 Piotr- kowska…...

Old-Fashioned

And then she died on us, utterly. The leg dead, the foot rough. The bend of the knee glows with emptiness. And the belly’s warmth turns to ash, a black sachet filled with down. Even the cigarette,…...

Rooms and Gardens

They will greet you with mysterious smiles, those who were there before you. Later, when new ones arrive, you will already know it all. You will welcome them with the same smile and show them in. With…...

A Thousand

We exist on innumerable photographs. Whoever you are you exist. In a country landscape there is no place for sublime pleasures of the soul. Whoever’s tired of the city this, or some other, can go…...

from “The Fool”

The Fool (Głupiec, 2005) is set in contemporary Olsztyn, author Ewa Schilling's hometown in northeastern Poland. Alina is a thirty-year-old high school teacher and the daughter of a Lutheran pastor,…...

An Interview with Ewa Schilling

This interview was conducted by email, in English and Polish, between 24 May and 1 June, 2010.   W. Martin: How did you begin writing The Fool (Głupiec), and what motivated you to tell this particular…...

from “Dukla”

One Saturday the summer vacationers appeared. The village was slowly becoming a tourist spot. A few cabins, a woebegone hostel, a kiosk selling Wyszków beer in its special bottles. The locals were…...

Animal Farm; or, a Short and Somewhat Political History of Comics in Poland

The Goat Polish comics began in 1919 with the publication in the Lvov satirical weekly Szczutek (“Fillip”) of With Fire and Sword; or, The Adventures of Mad Grześ, about a young soldier…...

From Key of Passage

The pyxel appeared at a most inconvenient moment for Robert. As usual on such appearances, the air flickered a little, an invisible violin began to play softly, and there was a whiff of vanilla. The pyxel…...