What about the soldiers? What of them?
When the later ones came, how did they seem to you?
They were grown-ups. I don’t know.
They had rabbit fur ushankas and heavy coats.
Yes, they sat in the square. That’s it?
They wanted bread.
Did you give them any? My mother gave me some
to hand them.
They were carving birds.
Out of lime wood, I think, because it’s softer.
I gave one of the soldiers some bread
in return for a wooden bird.
I used to run with it, my arm stretched
high above my head.
One of its wings broke off.
But all through the war, through grey sky,
over blue oceans, over green lakes and rivers,
red dots of capital cities, brown bumps
of the mountains around and around
the astonishing globe we flew together.
by Maria Jastrzębska
Ever wondered how the Weekly Poem got started? Find out by reading this article on the Poetry Centre website, and encourage your friends to sign up!
The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre is collaborating with the Oxford-based mental health charity, The Archway Foundation, on an 18-month project funded by Time to Change. The project is aimed at reducing stigmas around mental health issues. The first of a series of multimedia creative arts events takes place this Saturday afternoon at the Asian Cultural Centre on Manzil Way, off the Cowley Road. Please feel free to come along. You can find more details on the Archway website.
‘Wooden Bird’ is copyright © Maria Jastrzębska, 2013. It is reprinted from At the Library of Memories by Maria Jastrzębska (published by Waterloo Press in 2013) by permission of Waterloo Press.
Notes from Waterloo Press:
Maria Jastrzębska was born in Warsaw, Poland and came to the U.K as a child. At the Library of Memories (Waterloo Press 2013) is her third full length collection. She co-translated Elsewhere by Iztok Osojnik (Pighog Press 2011) and her drama Dementia Diaries toured nationally in the same year. She is co-editor of Queer in Brighton (New Writing South 2014). You can read more about her work on her blog.
Waterloo Press offers readers an eclectic list of the most stimulating poetry from the UK and abroad. We promote what’s good of its kind, finding a commonality amongst the poets we publish. Our beautifully designed books range from lost modernist classics, translations and vibrant collections by the best British poets around. Our translation list is growing to 25% of our output.
Waterloo Press brings radical and marginalised voices to the fore, mirroring their aesthetics in outstanding book design, including dust jackets; large font; and original artwork. With its growing list, Waterloo Press promotes at last a permeable membrane between contemporary schools, quite apart from archiving a few sacred vessels for good. WP fosters a poetics based on innovation with respect for craft, bloody-mindedness and as founder Sonja Ctvrtecka put it: ‘An elegant unstuffiness – a seagull perched on a Porsche.’ Now the major poetry publisher of the south-east, we also believe strongly in a community of like-minded independent presses. We’ve become a land.
Find out more about Waterloo Press via its website, or ‘like’ the publisher on Facebook.
Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.