Notes from Warsaw – 3

I dye my words
in night and moon —
dawn always two verses away

Today, The Wire dropped an article featuring Polish poet Tadeusz Rozewicz. This on a morning when I had Notes from Warsaw -3 (now numbered 4) floating somewhere between cursor and central nervous system. This is the way the universe works – you fixate on something for even a brief moment and that thing will begin to appear on walls, seep through the cracks and basically do a war dance in the spaces between the Malabar tiles on your roof. Try it.

Rozewicz was in the Polish resistance during WW II and his poetry is severe and visceral, ripping open your insides with its stark simplicity. But he was just writing about the times he lived in – the pain and despair in his poetry a mirror of the unbearable horrors of war. I wonder if reading my poetry years from now, a reader can discern the zeitgeist of our days.  Maybe my poems should be a dirty yellow, the colour of weakness as earth and humanity crumble to dust without ink breaking over them. Maybe my poems should be a flaccid blue, the colour of cold refusal to rage against the dying of the light. What will that future reader get from the monochrome poems filling these infinite digital (d)reams?

Tomorrow will judge our today using yesterday as its prism. But that can neither dictate nor design our poems. But it does tell us who we are and what we might become. What we were and who we have become. It does tell us the truth.

I added Tadeusz Rozewicz’s books to my wish list. I peered inside the Kindle sample of his book – New Poems. The first poem, ‘The Trains’ had this:

 “I am building
a bridge
to link the past
with the future
The past is today,
But a little further on…”

The article from the Wire is here.

Full moon over Swietokrzyski Bridge, Warsaw

(from Bangalore, India: 29 Sep 2019)

Also in this series:
Notes from Warsaw – 2
Notes from Warsaw –

19 thoughts on “Notes from Warsaw – 3

  1. Love your post and love your poem. War, we never learn from the horror. Thank you for sharing your work and introducing me to a new poet to read.


  2. I’m watching the new series on BBC!, ‘World on Fire’, which is set partially in Warsaw during WW2. I’ve been to Wroclav in Poland, have Polish friends, and can understand why Rozewicz’s poetry is severe and visceral. Thankyou for sharing one of his poems.

    I love your lines about dyeing words in night and moon, Rajani, and wondering about the colour of poems.


    1. Thank you, Kim. Warsaw was extremely evocative – I looked up the series, we don’t get the BBC shows here, just the news, so hopefully it will pop up on some streaming app soon. Sounds very interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I lived through WW2 as a child so wasn’t really frightened as it was all I knew. I was lucky neither mother or father died but I lost a few uncles as did my future wife so I found out. The best thing was that the British government didn’t let us starve with strict rationing…but I am still thin now!


  4. Having trouble leaving a comment. Akismet security does not like me…..thank you for your thought-provoking post. I read a lot about WWII. War gains us nothing but human suffering, yet we keep waging it. Sigh.


  5. Hey, Rajani, your link at Poets United brought me to this powerful essay for which I thank you very much. Your questions of color and context and manifestation resonate with me. I’m going to look for #4.


  6. Your poems are definitely NOT monochrome, Rajani. I’m reading your book and thinking about what I will write as a review, and the words I come up with are ones with rich color and texture. I see no pastels. Only vibrant deep ochre and violets and reds. Just wonderful!


    1. Hey Sarah…thanks so much and I am glad you’re reading my book!!! Delighted, actually! 🙂 🙂 As you can tell, I am contemplating the direction of my poetry and it’s not always a pretty train of thought!!!


      1. But your train of thought always takes you—and us—in an interesting direction. Always worth traveling with you!


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