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Halina Poświatowska

Halina Poświatowska

(*** ile lat mają twoje ręce…) *** how old are your hands…

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Halina Poświatowska, (*** ile lat mają twoje ręce…) *** how old are your hands…

how old are your hands
gnarled trees
they become spring
as they touch my hair

the smell of awakened roots
earth’s whisper
pierce
the autumn’s frailty

amid dry fingers
the April wind dances
I arch
my green neck

deeper — a sharp craving
to press
my warm skin
against your hands

(Translation by Maya Peretz)

Halina Poświatowska, (*** ile lat mają twoje ręce…) *** how old are your hands…

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Halina Poświatowska

(1935-1967) – Polish poet, author of lyrical love poetry. In January 1945, during the Soviet-German fight for the city, she spent four days in a cold and damp room, and as a result she got sick. Streptococcus bacteria attacked her heart, causing a condition that could not be cured at the time. The illness influenced her entire life. In 1958 she underwent a complicated operation in the United States, where she later stayed to study at the prestigious Smith College. In 1961 she returned to Poland and came to live in Krakow, in the well-known House of Literates at Krupnicza Street. Halina Poświatowska had her debut in 1956, in “Gazeta Częstochowska”, and thus she is considered one of the ”Współczesność generation", though she did not adhere to any literary group. In 1957 she published her first poetry volume Hymn bałwochwalczy, and in 1961 Notatnik amerykański – a book that contained reportages from her stay in the US. In 1963 her poetry volume Dzień dzisiejszy saw print, and in 1966 her autobiography Opowieść dla przyjaciela, and her third poetry volume Oda do rąk. Halina Poświatowska died in Warsaw in 1967 as a result of complications after another heart operation. She was buried at St Rocco’s cemetery in Częstochowa. The last volume prepared by the poet Jeszcze jedno wspomnienie was released posthumously.

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