poetry marked by war

Few days ago Tomas Transtömer got a literature Nobel Prize 2011. It made me think of my favourite poet. Although I much prefer prose to poetry, there are these beautiful and meaningful poems full with courage and will to live. The poems only
a person threatend by a vision of inevitable
death could write.

Zuzanna Ginczanka (born Zuzanna Polina Gincburg) was a Polish poet with Jewish background born in 1917 in Kiev. She grew up in Równe (present Ukraine; ukr. Рівне)  where she started writing at the age of 10. She spent her youth in Warsaw, managing to publish there her only  poetry book O centaurach (1936), and in Lviv (after WW II broke out). In 1943 she fled from the Nazis but in 1944 she was captured by gestapo and then killed in Płaszów, near Cracow.
She was only 27…

Among her brutally honest poems concerning war there are some that treat about love and calm, everyday life. Those poems are so full with light, hope and serenity that it may seem impossible the author wrote them in such a vile time.

The English translation of one of Ginczanka’s most popular pieces – Non omnis moriar – is to
be found here.

Below I’m posting one of my favourite
poems of hers.

*

Uczta wakacyjna

Na talerzu szarym ziemi, malowanym w zieleń trawy,
Mam sałatkę, przyrządzoną z kwiatów wonnych
i jaskrawych

I z naczynia w kształcie słońca, które formy swej nie zmieni,
Leje lato na nie ciepły i złocisty miód promieni.

W innej misie z szkła czarnego, niby nocnych chwil kryształy
Leży banan półksiężyca żółty, gruby i dojrzały;
Lipiec suto obsypuje wnet firmament półksiężyca
Cukrem gwiazdek, których pełna jest wszechświata cukiernica.

Z przezroczego dzbana piję niebo z pianką chmur – oczyma;
Lokaj – lato na swej tacy złotą dynię słońca trzyma.
Wgryzam się zębami uczuć w kraśne jabłko dni czerwonych
I do kosza serca chowam skórki wspomnień już zjedzonych.

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