‘It is the function of art to renew our perception.
What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer
shakes up the familiar scenes, and, as if by magic, we see
a new meaning in it’
Anais Nin ( 1903-1977) is a writer that I have always admired and felt that her creations, diaries and essays have shaped my taste for beauty and depth in the literature. Whatever she created – including her ‘House of Incest’ was of a deep influence on me as a writer and an artist. Her sensitivity, deep insight and ability to write in a poetical and yet very disturbing way has always sparked my imagination.
When I have read her writings for the first time I knew her creations would stick with me
and I have treated her as my role model – not because she was a poetry writer but because there was so much poetry in anything that she wrote.
During her lifetime Anais became acquainted with many well-known writers and artists,
and wrote a series of novels and stories.Her first book – a defence of D. H. Lawrence – was published in the 1930s.Many poeple do not know that initially there have been only 300 copies of this debut book available – which did not stop the writer from becoming popular – as it wasn’t the amount of the books but the quality of it that made a real difference.
“I am lying on a hammock, on the terrace of my room at the Hotel Mirador, the diary open on my knees, the sun shining on the diary, and I have no desire to write. The sun, the leaves, the shade, the warmth, are so alive that they lull the senses, calm the imagination. This is perfection. There is no need to portray, to preserve. It is eternal, it overwhelms you, it is complete.”
There is a reason why did I start this post from mentioning the famous writer and author of series on on of the most popular diaries of all times. One of the reason is that Anais had the unique ability to spot, to notice the secret life of things, of objects that surrounded her in her reality. She had that eye for ‘the magical thingking’ which I find so important in my writing.
Another reason is that 2 weeks before Christmas my Mum gave me a call telling me that she picked up my second poetry book from the printing house. Of course that information made me feel very happy. I’ve been waiting for it for more than a year. That poetry calletion that I worked on during the hard lock down at the first and second quarter of 2020 was something that I don’t think I’d create if it wasn’t for the global pandemic. Writing poetry helped me to process the fear, the feeling of being hopeless – I needed to cheer myself up, I needed a new ray of hope and something deep inside was telling me that this is also what I could share with the world. I need to mention here that if it wasn’t for the financial suport of the local cultural institutions this project wouldn’t be possible and I am feeling deeply greatful for the funds secured by the sponsors. (Samorząd Gminy Sieroszewice, Starostwo Powiatu Ostrowskiego & Stowarzyszenie EKOklub from Wielowies)
Photo: Joanna Bała
Just like in case of Anais Nin’s first book – there were only 300 piecesthat have been produced. Not more and not less. Once I heard that my another literary dream has materialized – I could not wait to share the results of my work with the rest of the world. The collection of poetry titled ‘The Secret Life Of the Forest In the Pot’ (‘O czym szumi las w słoiku) and I created in collaboration with the young and very talented Polish artist and illustrator Aleksandra Birch (www.aleksandrabirch.com).
While I was working on the visual part of it together with Aleksandra my goal was to create
something that the reader would feel encouraged to get close to, touch and while drinking a cup of
cofee or tea and find pleasure in looking at the beautiful illustrations presenting the characters from the poems.
Illustrations: Aleksandra Birch Photo Credits: Aleksandra Birch
One of my friends who is also an artist – a jewelery designer (an onwer of KER Jewelery brand) noticed that to her every poem was in fact a litte universe. When I think of I must admit she was very right – in my poems I have created these little universes so that the readers could immerse themselves in these tiny
worlds, find a shelter, comfort in all that I wrote.
I wanted this collection to be special – and recall the deep need that is there within each and every one of us. That need is to be close to the Nature, close to the pure and beautiful natural world, close to the forests, lakes, the wild animals – the world that is innocent and not damaged by consumerism, by the rat race for power and money.
The pandemic reminded us of our deep need for the contact with nature – it has became
so unbearable – not being able to go out, see the trees and hear the voices of the birds –
this is what has become our reality for many long months- once we have found ourselves in the middle of the lock-down -closed in our little apparatemtns of houses.
Before I present to you few of the poems from the collection I’d like to share with you
the preface that I translated from Polish to English:
Can poetry ‘hug us’?
When I look back, I remember that the first works for the new collection of poetry began
to write around February and March 2020. At that time, the whole world around me was filled with
various, ever-changing restrictions and limitations related to the global pandemic.
There was no doubt then that the world as we knew is irreversibly changing before our eyes.
Uncertainty peeked through the windows of our houses. Contrary to our natural need for contact
with others and the outside world, we were condemned to isolation, spending long months closed up
in four walls. Being at home was becoming unbearable at times.
For me, this time has been a unique, extremely creative and inspiring time
of ‘returning to myself’, as well as it’s been a time where I could reflect on what is important,
and pay attention to all these things that previously, in the multitude of everyday matters, have been
The volume “The Secret Life Of the Forest In The Pot” is not only a poetic reaction to the turbulent events
of 2020, my attempt to appease and soothe the fear associated with living “in uncertain times”.
It is also a collection of sentiments, emotions and delights, the source of which I have found
in seemingly trivial everyday life.
The collection includes poems that express longing for life before the pandemic, for lost contact
with nature. There is also a lot of concern for our Green Planet, for the disturbed balance
and the condition of the natural world.
Photo: Aleksandra Birch (C)
The collection also includes a sentimental journey to the time of innocence,
the childhood and early youth, and the dreams and ideals associated with them.
Some of the poems speak directly about looking for self-esteem and self-identity in places such as a meadow,
forest, sea, mountains – beyond the online reality, beyond Social Media, which today is so difficult to
ignore and which, especially for young people, may turn out to be a curse, a source of complexes and distorted vision of your life and body.
During the creative process, looking for inspiration – I focused on timeless values and
universal truths, hoping that whoever reads my poems, regardless of gender and age,
would feel my perspective of a ‘sensitive observer’ and undying faith in the good of
the world and people.
I invited Aleksandra Birch a talented and appreciated by international fans,
artist from Bielsko-Biała (www.aleksandrabirch.com) to collaborate on the book. The artist took care of the unique visual setting of my poems.
It is worth mentioning that working together with Aleksandra was the beginning of a friendship that
continues today and is developing, which would have never been born had it not been for this book. (…)
Below you’ll find two of the poems from the poetry collection – that I translated into English – I hope that these poems will help you get the idea what my poetry collection was all about and to realize that in fact just like Anais Nin has concluded in her writings- what we are familiar with – we cease to see – but there is an incredible amount of beauty in the daily life. In my opinion we can still find our ways to notice and appraciate this beauty what matters is – we need to look at the world with fresh eyes and try not to let the news we hear to bring us down. The pandemic has not left the world untouched and we have changed but we should not let the external events make us bitter or angry. How about starting from noticing beauty that is omnipresent in the world of nature? If this works for me I really do hope this will work for you as well. Stay safe. Keep Calm. Read Poetry.
after a day away
in the nature
we go home
eagerly like animals
who are missing
the familiar scent
of their nest
on our way back we remember
that by the lake
time passes by differently
when it is spent
on counting ducks on the water
freckles on the nose
and clover leaves
we run away
to this innocent place
to make it on time
and fall in love with the day
in its expressive colors
before the dark eyelashes of the evening
fall on it irreversibly
taught by experience
at home on the couch
we are not looking for a miracle
or a flash of salvation
to embrace dreams
do not suffice
only under the canopy of trees
with a walking ant
on the wrist
we can feel
as in our hearts
a rift is formed
in which hope
is breaking in
and plenty of light
notice your feet
by magical miniature balls
scattered like millions of beads
as dew droplets
boldly enter the forest path
let it lead you
like the March Hare on the run
to the other side of the mirror
or to a brook
full of crystal clear
feel the joy in you
leaves getting tangled up in the hair
playfulness and impunity
let your heart
that love for the world
for this world
that it one
of a kind
that is never
even if sometimes
it is blind