PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott 1930–2017
(PN Review 235)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Oxford University Press
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Kei Miller on poetry and volume control Parwana Fayyaz's Afghan poems Gabriel Josipovici bids farewell to Aharon Appelfeld Craig Raine plants a flag A.R. Ammons from two angles

This poem is taken from PN Review 230, Volume 42 Number 6, July - August 2016.

Six Etudes

translated from the Polish by Jennifer Grotz & Piotr Sommer
Jerzy Ficowski
OVER THE COURSE of his life and career, Jerzy Ficowski (1924–2006) published more than a dozen volumes of poetry, including A Reading of Ashes, illustrated in the 1980 edition by Marc Chagall. In intellectual circles, he is best known as being the crucial authority of the expressionist Jewish fiction writer Bruno Schulz, who was killed by the Gestapo in 1942. Ficowski studied Schulz’s life, drawings and writing for more than a decade, publishing the first definitive literary biography on Schulz, Regions of the Great Heresy, in 1967. Ficowski, who as a young man took part in the Warsaw Uprising, travelled with the Polish gypsy population after the war and became an avid historian of the Polish Roma, documenting their culture in several monographs and translating their poetry, especially the work of a woman known as Papusza, into Polish. He made part of his living as a popular songwriter, all the while writing and publishing his own poems.

1. Old beggar at the church

At the gates of the church
deaf as the stump
of a felled tree
is a polychromed beggar
with an empty hand
He used to wear gold brocade
but it grayed
he had archangel wings
that turned into a hunchback
He scrapes together coppers
for the bell
So that the Lord God
will listen

2. Cemetery squirrels

like cemeteries

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image