Entering the Earth by Grzegorz Białkowski, translated by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka


one can step into the same earth twice
but not the river
a river understood as a flow of passing
droplets of time
tarnished by occurrences


in this picture the earth is a solid
and unchangeable law
the part of the fire which does not burn
the part of the statue which is not erased
by a pilgrim finger of the wind


into the earth which
my father entered
I step submerged
up to my knees


Grzegorz Białkowski (1932-1989) was a Polish poet and physicist. The two poems come from his eighth, posthumous book, Figury z piasku (Sand Figures), published in Poland in 2015 by the Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. During his lifetime Białkowski’s work appeared in prestigious Polish literary journals such as Współczesność, Odra, and Twórczość. These are the first English renditions of any of his poems.

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka is the translator for two books by Lidia Kosk, niedosyt/reshapings (Oficyna Dziennikarzy i Literatów POD WIATR, 2003) and Słodka woda, słona woda/Sweet Water, Salt Water (ASTRA, 2009). She is the author of Face Half-Illuminated (Apprentice House, 2015), a book of poems and translations, and Oblige the Light (CityLit Press, 2015), winner of the fifth Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize, reviewed, among others, in TQ. She is the translations editor at Loch Raven Review.