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Anna Świrszczyńska

Anna Świrszczyńska

The Pit Sisters

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Read by Marta Meissner, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
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English translation: Gabriela Łagowska
Got friends in the greenbelt
old beggars, lunatics.
There are rings in their eyes
but the gems have seeped out.
We tell each other our lives
all the way up from the human pit.
The pit sisters
fluent in the language of suffering
holding each other's hands
to comfort ourselves.
I kiss them on the cheek as I leave
feels soft as water.
English translation: Gabriela Łagowska
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Anna Świrszczyńska

known also as Anna Swir (1909–1984) – a poet and author of books for children and youngsters. Born on 7 February 1909 in Warsaw, she studied Polish philology at the University of Warsaw. She debuted in 1936 with a self-published book Wiersze i proza (Poems and Prose). After the war, she moved to Krakow, where she lived till her last days in Dom Literatów (the Writers’ House) at 22 Krupnicza Street. In the years 1946–1950, she worked as the literary director of Państwowy Teatr Młodego Widza (the State Theatre of the Young Spectator), she wrote also animated movie scripts and composed radio dramas and television plays. Author of well-known collections of poetry Jestem baba (I Am an Old Woman)and Budowałam barykadę (English-language edition: Building the Barricade), she wrote about ordinary women’s experiences such as the lack of appreciation for their unpaid work, the difficult experience of motherhood as well as violence against women. Young readers were the addressees of history tales written by Świrszczyńska in verse and prose, including Jak Krak zbudował Kraków (How the Legendary King Krak Had Built Krakow). In 1976, she received the City of Krakow Award for her works. She died on 30 September 1984 and was buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Krakow.
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