PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Colm Toibin on Thom Gunn's Letters Allice Hiller and Sasha Dugdale in conversation David Herman on the life of Edward W. Said Jena Schmitt on Hope Mirrlees Brian Morton: Now the Trees
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue
Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this article to

This article is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

A Week in Gdańsk Sinéad Morrissey
Inside St Mary’s Church in Gdańsk stands a Clock of Everything. At fourteen metres, it was the tallest clock ever built when Hans Düringer completed it in 1470, and it remains the largest wooden astronomical clock in the world. So beautiful its creator was allegedly blinded upon finishing it, the clock is the first thing that greets you as you enter the basilica by the north transept, its dark medieval wood highlighted by the white walls. Composed of three discreet but interlocking sections, like the Trinity, it functions as an at-a-glance answer machine, the Google of the fifteenth century. Of course it tells you the minute and the hour. But if you want to know the phase of the moon, or the relation of the moon to Taurus, or the relation of the sun to Capricorn, or the relation of the sun and moon to each other, it will tell you that too. And at noon each day, beneath the forked tree of our Fall, like hatches to the realm of metaphor, tiny doors open and out wheel the three Kings followed by the four Evangelists followed by the twelve Apostles followed by Death brandishing a scythe – an order which undermines the hopeful face of Mary with her baby enshrined at the clock’s base as, Christ notwithstanding, Death’s caper reminds us, Time does for us in the end.

It’s the last week of August 2020. In a late-summer window of grace from the ravages of Covid-19, I’ve travelled here to accept the European Poet of Freedom Award for my collection On Balance, translated into Polish by Magdalena Heydel. Apart from having to wear a face mask in the hotel corridor, things seem pretty relaxed. Shops, cafés and museums are all open. The quayside is crammed. Along the Long Market, street hawkers tout luminous balloons. Any foreknowledge I have of Gdańsk is over seventy years old and in the wrong language: the sing-shattering sentences of Günter Grass’s maniacal Tin Drum unspooling in my head.

I’ve only been here an hour when I walk into St Mary’s. After contemplating the Clock of Everything (or as much of it as I can within a span of ten minutes), I begin to explore. An exhibition of black-and-white photographs flanks the southern side of the nave. I step closer to discover Pope John Paul II on board a makeshift chapel built as a ship surrounded by Soviet-era tower blocks. He’s gesturing out towards a sea of insects – ants or locusts descended on crops, something swarming. Except – they’re people. Men. Women. Children. A million Tri-City citizens turned out to welcome their native son. I stare. It’s a hot June day in 1987. Back home in Ireland, they are yet to uncover the mass grave containing 155 corpses on the grounds of a Magdalen Laundry run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity in Dublin, or the remains of just under 800 children at the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam. The Catholic Church sex abuse scandal is brewing while this Pope will dither and wring his hands. But for the crowds on a disused airstrip in Zaspa, he’s a light in the darkness of Communist dictatorship. Flip the context, switch the frame, and an alternative meaning emerges, the two truths not cancelling each other out but co-existing – rival languages in the one city – and I don’t know what to do with my revulsion. It doesn’t go away, but is added to, and unresolved. It pulses in the air in a shaft of sunlight like the shimmering, throughother aura of migraine.

That first evening, as the sun slides into the Baltic, I walk past the clattery restaurants, the replica Black Pearl with its useless paraphernalia of seafaring, the ship museum named after the Stakhanovite shock worker Sołdek, solid in its own shadow, out past the bridges and the fairgrounds and the glass apartment blocks of the New Poland to what’s left of the Lenin Shipyard. I know shockingly little about Solidarity. I know what Lech Wałeşa looks like. From a dimly recalled News broadcast in the early 1980s, I know he made a speech into a hand-held microphone surrounded by a crowd of badly dressed men. It’s all post-industrial ruin now, this city-inside-a-city that once housed bars and cinemas, leisure complexes and an on-site hospital, where 20,000 workers built over 1,000 ships for the navies of Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, East Germany, the USSR. It reminds me of Belfast before the multi-million, Titanic­inspired facelift of its own derelict shipyards. It reminds me of afternoons spent wandering among overgrown cobbles and haunted graving docks, rainbow oil in the puddles, abandoned vessels sinking deeper into their own rot and a ravening sky overhead I loved as much as I did because it couldn’t care less.

The Lenin Shipyard is in-between destinies. The old industrial order has collapsed. The Gdańsk municipal authorities are applying for this crucible of revolution to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, which would see it partially restored and partially redeveloped, but for now artist co-operatives have moved into its windy spaces, reclaiming its radical heritage for themselves. The bricks of a drawing office are still blackened, the glass so smeared or smashed it admits no possible interior, but a Pride flag juts out of an upstairs window – and this in a country where local authorities have campaigned for the establishment of ‘LGBT-Ideology-Free Zones’ (comprising up to one third of Polish territory) under the homophobic rule of Law and Justice. Among scrubland further off, a crimson Alexander Lukashenko descends into hell, decapitated Belarussian citizens strewn round him as his publicum. On a gangrenous slipway, steampunk junk figures made out of typewriters, springs, radiators, lamps, fans are either emerging from the waters or stalking back into them – you can’t tell which way they face without faces – the anthropomorphised essence of mechanical űber-production that’s been the story of this site for a century. Or our future, once production lines have ceased altogether, when a handful of survivors will make do with what’s to hand: a raggle-taggle army keeping alive the dream of what being human means.

The horror of a human being that is The Tin Drum’s Oskar Matzerath witnesses the start of World War II in Danzig/Gdańsk when SS soldiers attack the Polish Post Office where his biological father Jan Bronski works. True to actual events, Bronski and his colleagues hold out for fifteen hours against impossible odds, until Jan is betrayed by Oskar for a toy drum and shot by the Nazis as an illegal combatant. The Polish Post Office building is still operational and contains, in a ground-floor corner, a three-room exhibition space in honour of its defence. Like a museum of a museum, exhibits from the 1930s – a telephone, a desk, a telegraph machine – invite our dumb appraisal while typed white cards on the walls explain patiently what they mean. But there is the SS Attack Plan, salvaged from who knows where after 1945, all seven meticulous pages of it, detailing exactly how the building is to be stormed and exactly what is to be done to its occupants, including the caretaker, his wife and their eleven-year-old daughter. And along two walls, degraded objects from the mass grave the Polish postal workers tumbled into after being executed by firing squad on the 5 October 1939: a nit comb, a shoe, a watch, a miraculous medal.

My visit coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the Gdańsk Agreement between Lech Wałeşa and the Polish Communist authorities on 31 August 1980 which granted Solidarity the right to exist as an independent Trade Union. I don’t know what any of this means but on Sunday 30 August I make my way to The European Solidarity Centre: a discombobulating architectural marvel boasting gardens on the roof and trees and rusted gantries within the galleries, a building ‘like the inside of somebody’s head’ as a friend put it when I sent him a photograph. It’s immediately obvious from the museum’s stature that this is the site of pilgrimage, the immortalisation of a particularly precious socio­political, quasi-religious narrative of which I know next to nothing, and as I enter the resounding atrium and buy a ticket, the idea begins to take hold that I somehow missed the story of the Cold War. Not because the Cold War wasn’t important – in my family the Cold War rang its extirpating nuclear alarm all the time – but because the story of Solidarity simply transpired on the wrong side of the line.

More powerful than the 95 theses nailed to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, in that they didn’t split a world in two, but eventually dismantled it entirely, the 21 demands of the Interfactory Strike Committee hang proudly spotlit in a dark hall. Handwritten across two plywood boards used by workers for marking out templates, these had been mounted onto the shipyard’s iconic Gate 2 on 18 August 1980, as sympathy strikes ignited across the country and official news channels reported Anything But – Honecker’s tank manoeuvres, a Polish-Czech trade conference in Prague, a rally of the Young Communist League. The first three demands are the most famous, and rightfully so, because combined they undid the Soviet mono-bloc from within:
  1. Acceptance of free trade unions independent of the Communist Party and of enterprises, in accordance with convention No. 87 of the International Labour Organization concerning the right to form free trade unions;
  2. A guarantee of the right to strike and of the security of strikers;
  3. Compliance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, the press and publication, including freedom for independent publishers, and the availability of the mass media to representatives of all faiths.

Read on and the demands become more parochial, more worker-orientated, more tethered to their particular time and place, though the strain of unfettered idealism remains: a day of rest on Saturdays; an increase in the commuter’s allowance to 100 złoty; paid maternity leave for three years. It is a document of vast discrepancies of locus and scale, the product of all-night sessions of the Inter-factory Strike Committee held in the shipyard’s canteens and meeting halls, of speeches and debates fuelled by weak tea, apples, bread, whatever an impoverished populace left at the gates – a say-everything-now document because the chances of it actually being listened to or acted upon are so minuscule you may as well. But it was also brilliant, in that it weaponised the shibboleths of the governing structure, citing ILO articles on free association and Trade Union rights which the Polish Communist Government had itself ratified in 1957. Solidarity, among many other – profoundly contradictory – things, was the ghost in the machine of Communism, which spoke its language and wore its clothes. Give into it, and everything unravels. But don’t give into it, and the gap between doctrine and reality which the governing authorities ignored becomes unbearably exposed, and everything unravels anyway. For the Communist authorities in Poland, Solidarity was Catch 22 from the start.

There was talk, apparently, Deputy Mayor Alan Aleksandrowitcz tells me later in the week over lunch, of a military helicopter flying low and simply strafing the strikers from the air. Or of a gunship. Which would not have been inconceivable; which would not have been without precedent. You don’t have to think of East Germany in ’53, Hungary in ’56, or Prague in ’68: Poles rose up in 1970, and again in 1976, and were shot for their trouble. And they were young. A wall of detainee mugshots from 1970 reproduced courtesy of the Institute of National Remembrance resembles a high school yearbook. A granular black-and-white photograph shows the body of 18-year-old Zbigniew Godlewski carried through the streets of Gdynia by his peers; beside it the bullet­pierced jacket of 20-year-old shipyard worker Ludwig Piernicki, housed behind glass like a relic or the Turin Shroud.

I don’t know any of this. I don’t know the name Edward Gierek. I don’t know about the economic masterplan that crippled the country as debts incurred by gargantuan foreign borrowing were eventually recalled. I don’t know that the logo of Solidarity – Solidarność – is all squished up on purpose, giving itself a hug. But as I watch footage of the negotiations and signing, Wałeşa brandishing the tackiest pen in Christendom (as long as a baton and as thick as cigar, John Paul’s anodyne smile encased in plastic), Deputy Premier Mieczysław Jagielski, officious, thin, clinging for dear life to the wrong side of history, I believe I know this packed hall on film after all. I believe I know the quality of late summer sunlight falling though its windows and its order of business. I believe I know its smell.

In Poland, the form of a long-atrophied Revolution was reinvigorated, lit up from within, to be deployed against itself. And whilst the static political ideology of my family – the ideology of Western Communism loyal to the Soviet Union – practically guaranteed that the content of Solidarity, what it actually meant and threatened, more or less passed me by, I still recognise the form. The film of the signing still tumbles me back, deftly as Proust’s madeleine, to Transport House in Belfast on one of a million interminable afternoons, waiting for my parents to finally stop talking and take me home. There are the same trestle tables. There are the same overstuffed ashtrays. There is the same shuffling of papers and the same rudimentary sound system, microphones spiked on tables like attendant crows. My stolen Saturday grinds on. I sit on a chair, daydreaming, or read heretical Enid Blyton. My parents ignore me. Even when the speeches are over, they’re still stuck in a die-hard cluster at the front, my father holding forth with extravagant hand gestures, cutting a Trot-leaning enemy to shreds, jutting his head, while a conference organiser folds banners into boxes and a cleaner arrives to pick up the teacups and sweep the floor. With his stocky build and horseshoe moustache, Wałeşa reminds me of any number of the men I knew who, like my parents, existed in the Venn diagram intersection between the Transport and General Workers’ Union and the Communist Party, and I have the weird idea, suddenly, that if I put my hand inside Lech Walesa’s pocket, I’d know what I’d find: a handkerchief, a pipe, matches, random coins.

My Communist grandfather hated Solidarity, not only because it was fuelled by the Catholic Church and the CIA, not only because its Western advocates included Ronald Reagan and the British National Party, but because it was matter-out-of-place. Why stage a Revolution against the Revolution? But what twins they were, I think, my grandfather and Lech, what brothers they might have been, as I watch the unlikely victor borne out on his comrades’ shoulders to address the ecstatic crowd. A memoriam poster of my grandfather captures him shouting into a megaphone in agitprop colours, king of his own (admittedly far smaller) moment, and I play it out in my head, this shared penchant for rhetoric from high places, as the two of them scrabble upwards, Lech onto the roof of a shipyard trolley in Gdańsk, my grandfather onto a barricade in Belfast, to raise their arms and speechify. The great only appear great to us because we are on our knees – let us rise! said James Connolly said Jim Larkin said my grandfather, over and over through my childhood, at TUC conferences or May Day rallies, standing tall, taking aim, David against Goliath, his barrage of abstract nouns the slingshot that would bring injustice down.

In Belfast, during the wildfire days of August 1969, my grandfather scrambled up on an electricity transformer box and urged Turf Lodge residents to dig up the road. Bombay Street was a smoking ruin, thousands of Catholics had fled their homes and B-Specials in Shorland armoured vehicles with Browning machine guns mounted on top were on their way. What shall we dig with? shouted a man in all innocence, like Johnny to Eliza in the bucket song, missing the point. Dig with your fingernails! How could my grandfather have resisted the high-octane rush of this other wildfire August, had he lived here instead of there, a mere eleven years later? How could the man who hi-jacked a bus, robbed a bakery and distributed free loaves to mothers and children during the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike of 1974 possibly have resisted Solidarity’s righteous call?

For here they come, the ordinary people of Gdańsk, bathed in beneficent sunshine, also bearing bread – though now it’s both the bread of basic sustenance and the body of Christ, as Gate 2 grows adorned with wreaths of rosaries, flowers, Catholic iconography. The generosity of Gdańsk residents was pointedly extravagant. They gave more than they had. With shops picked clean and hunger marches, such extravagance involved ingenuity and privation as well as kindness; their faces shine with the thrill of upstanding transgression, the elation of risk. For the sin of achieving Jagielski’s signature to Solidarity’s demands, retribution is naturally coming – though not by air, sea or Soviet tank. In sixteen months, on 13 December 1981, First Secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party and founder of the Military Council for National Salvation General Wojciech Jaruzelski will undertake Brezhnev’s dirty work for him by imposing Martial Law. Poland’s own tanks will roll in. On the first day of military rule, the Moscow Cinema in Warsaw will screen Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and photographer Chris Niedenthal will immortalise the gesture: a stone lion, wires, trees, snow, a green tank parked on a white street with soldiers gesticulating – the end of the world.

Martial Law lasted until 22 July 1983. Three weeks later, my mother visited Poland on a Communist Party holiday. She hated it. The buildings in Warsaw were pockmarked with bullet holes. In the hotel bedrooms, prostitutes lay in wait for male delegates while men in trench coats hung round street corners selling black market pornography. Vegetarian at the time, she was served a hairbrush bristle jutting out of a mound of tinned carrots. I have since wondered why my mother didn’t return to Belfast and tear up her Party Card. Wandering through the European Solidarity Centre, I now wonder if anyone mentioned Martial Law, if any of the immediate context of internment camps and curfews, murdered protestors and censorship was part of her travel brief. I ask her later. It wasn’t. In the traumatised, volatile atmosphere of Martial Law’s aftermath, perhaps the blithe arrival of privileged Western Communists was not a particularly welcome phenomenon. Perhaps there was more to the hairbrush bristle than she thought.

There is much to commemorate in Gdańsk this week. On 31 August, the actual anniversary of the Agreement, Magdalena Heydel and I accept our joint award. Knowing more about the rationale behind the prize, of the contours of what was achieved here forty years earlier, the honour is weighty and sharp. Gdańsk Mayor Aleksandra Dulkiewicz introduces the event. She’s a busy woman. Earlier that afternoon, she presided over a celebration of Solidarity at the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers – three towering anchors-cum-crosses nailed to the sky – and is on her way to a rally in support of the Belarussian uprising unfolding as she speaks. Afterwards, she will stay up into the early hours of September 1 to mark the beginning of World War II when, hours before the assault on the Polish Post Office, German forces in the shape of SMS Schleswig-Holstein attacked Westerplatte, a Polish military outpost ten kilometres along the coast.

Drastic bifurcation is the tenor of the day. At the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers, two Solidarity celebrations take place: the Gdańsk Municipal Authority ceremony and the Law and Justice ceremony, and each so different, on either side of a wall, explains Barbara Frydrych, Director of the Mayoral Office of Culture, it is difficult to understand how they could be paying tribute to the same movement. During the War commemoration, Law and Justice take over altogether, refusing to allow Mayor Aleksandra Dulkiewicz her pre-agreed role. For if Solidarity was many – profoundly contradictory – things, it split like mercury in 1989 when the Goliath it pitted itself against eventually toppled. And a substantial part of its core, with the gleeful sanction of the Free Market and the blessing of the Vatican, rolled right.

Nazi plans for the storming of the Post Office involved 150 soldiers and lightning attacks from multiple directions to preclude successful defence. The storming of Poland’s nascent post-Communist democracy by Law and Justice has been equally brutal and multi-directional: control the media, control the judiciary, ‘other’ a marginal group. For now, the most ‘othered’ Poles are members of the LGBTQ+ community, though as all good children of Socialists know from Martin Niemöller’s Lutheran Confession – First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak up because I was not a Communist – the category of public enemy under fascism is inherently unstable and expansive. Every few days, Ana Matusevic of the Gdańsk Cultural Institute sticks a rainbow to the front door of the office and every few days it’s taken down. For the ceremony I wear a badge combining the Solidarity victory sign with the colours of Pride, a badge which attests to Solidarity’s diametrically opposite legacy: the little-voiced standing up against a socio-political monolith that would deny their right to exist. Which is a simple thing to do. Which is something. But when a woman approaches me afterwards to thank me for wearing it, and then asks if she and her girlfriend should leave Poland, I am ashamed to the roots of my hair of the easy privilege of my position. Lives are now at stake here every day in ways I will never be able to fully appreciate. I wonder how long it would take for democratic institutions back home to realign into something more akin to Law and Justice’s iron teeth – ten years? Five? Perhaps less than one might hope; perhaps less than one might think.

The Free City of Danzig, created as part of the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles on the 15 November 1920 and in existence until its annexation to the Third Reich in 1939, is the improbable country into which Oskar Matzerath is born in 1924, with complete adult consciousness and gifted with hyperthymesia – the capacity to never forget. In the chapter ‘Long-Distance Song Effects from the Stockturm’, Oskar climbs the Goal Tower, pitches his 100-decibel voice across at the neighbouring City Theatre and shatters its windows one by one. Because it’s clever and secret and safe and elaborately destructive and because he can. That this action is a metaphorical prefiguring of Kristallnacht is obvious. For all that Oskar’s stunted figure is an anathema to the Nazis, who keep sending his ‘presumptive father’ Alfred Matzerath the paperwork that would allow his deviant son to be ‘eugenically exterminated’, Oskar still functions as the symbolic spirit of National Socialism, drumming his insouciant I-want mantra through the novel’s catalogue of atrocity, an Angel of Death in short trousers dispatching as he goes. Towards the end of my week in Gdańsk I pass under the restored City Gate at the east end of the Long Market and emerge onto a square. There is the tower, there is the theatre, and I find I can trace precisely how Oskar took aim and sang, in the jittery days on the eve of war, just before a Jewish toy seller vanishes and a horse’s head is hauled out of the Baltic crawling with eels and Oskar’s mother commits suicide gorging on fish and a fragile city state – as idealistically forged as the Weimar Republic and as riven with compromise – begs to be smashed.

And where smithereens of Oskar’s vandalised glass would have showered down, I come across a plaque. In Memory of Paweł Adamovicz Mayor of Gdańsk 1998-2019. And so I learn that this is in fact the spot where, on the 13 January 2019, twenty-seven-year-old Stefan Wilmont, recently released from prison, climbed up on a temporary stage during the city’s biggest annual charity event and stabbed Paweł Adamovicz three times before parading around, delighted, with the knife in his raised right hand. Because he was angry. Because it was elaborately destructive. Because he could. The next day the fifty-three-year-old Mayor died of his injuries. In 2017 Adamovicz, pro-immigrant, pro-European and an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, had been named on a ‘public death certificate’ issued by the far-right All-Polish Youth.

Poland is not yet lost insists the National Anthem, composed in Italy in 1797 two years after the Third Partition had wiped out the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Wilmont may have been mentally unbalanced, but the unmitigated torrent of hate speech on Law and Justice-controlled state television to which he was exposed in prison was a factor in his behaviour with ramifications for us all. Poland is not yet lost so long as we shall live. In the aftermath of Adamovicz’s assassination, under the banner Stop Hatred, thousands marched in silent candlelit vigils across the country, reclaiming a more charitable Poland for themselves. Adamovicz’s last words – Gdańsk is generous Gdańsk shares its good Gdańsk wants to be a city of Solidarity – are inscribed on the plaque as a fitting memorial to the man who had said of growing up amidst the bitter dislocations of the Soviet era: we hardly saw a place for ourselves in this double world.

Such attics cleared of me! Such absences! I unfold my city map for the umpteenth time and spot oddly designated ‘non-cemeteries’: discreet squares named for what once was but is no longer; a nominal signification of grief. Many of these turn out to be German places of rest or Friedhöfe (from the Middle German ‘peace huts’), levelled post-1945 after the German-speaking population had fled West in advance of the Red Army or been forcibly expatriated. But there are other resonant absences. The Cemetery of Lost Cemeteries memorialises a total of twenty-seven destroyed graveyards and a necropolis. It openly honours the Holocaust Disappeared by citing Polish-born German Jewish poet Mascha Kaléko, whose books were burned by the Nazis in 1933, as part of its central inscription: ‘For Those Without a Name’.

The Cemetery of Lost Cemeteries acknowledges and venerates the complexity of the region’s heritage. As Law and Justice exert control over Poland’s historical narrative by means of swingeing simplification, itself an act of violence – criminalising any public statement of Polish complicity in the Holocaust, for example – the Cemetery of Lost Cemeteries utters a quiet political counterstatement. With its interplay of Christian and Judaic design, presence and absence, shadow and light, it is a space which, rather like the Clock of Everything, appears to open endlessly outwards, including all the city dead in its tribute: German, Pole, Jew, anyone otherwise othered, anyone in between. On my final morning, I visit the Historical Museum (free on Thursdays) and find myself in the Hall of Great Council, or Red Room. Above my head The Apotheosis of Gdańsk by Isaac van den Blocke, an Anabaptist from a family of Dutch craftsmen who had arrived in the city in the sixteenth century, fleeing persecution, unfurls its audacious vision in grandiloquent oils. And this too opens outwards, for here are cities within cities, gates within gates, a garden giving endlessly into the distance like an infinity mirror. I stand beneath it for a long time. And because the pillared entry to the Kingdom is framed in a rainbow and because God’s blessing on the city is inscribed in Hebrew, I photograph it and send it to my father, who has never been to Gdańsk. I want to let him know how precious such luminous multifacetedness has been. 

This article is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this article to
Further Reading: - Sinéad Morrissey More Articles by... (3) Poems by... (22) Reviews by... (2) Reviews of... (2) Translation by... (1)
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image