can, alas, cause straits
as they grimly stare at us from the walls
and even when we funnily wink at them, there never falls
a longed-for cheerful smile
the hardest thing is to have a meal
when our great-grandfather is watching, nothing to conceal,
or our great-grandmother dear―
then we nervously spill, smudge or smear.
Once I wanted to feed my ancestor’s portrait,
“You will be punished for this” ― my mom said.
For trying so hard to give one a hand
- a reprimand?
English translation: Agnieszka Seweryn
(1972) – called a one-man band: lectures at the Faculty of Polish Studies of the Jagiellonian University, translates English literature, and writes lyrics, radio dramas and books for children. A fervent opponent of starting e-mails from “witam” (Polish for “I welcome”). For years, he held the post of “The First Secretary” of Wisława Szymborska, who knew him to become “her secretary at first sight”. Capable of instantaneous inventing of genre names for the poet’s short rhymed works: lepieje, odwódki, and moskaliki. Since 2004, a regular author of limericks, which he published among others in Polish Playboy. Currently the Head of Wisława Szymbors