Independence

Oh, snow, snow in all the gardens and
recollected yards, a bed of snow freshly
made along the river. An entirely new
country. Watching from the stairs, closing

my eyes. I don’t take a step. It’s also snowing
inside, white in all the rooms, snow in all
the voluminous books. It’s building pyramids,
erecting new schools. Let the children begin,

let them print the first letters of the law.
If our state survives till Sunday,
it will be immortal.

— Tomasz Różycki
(Trans. by Mira Rosenthal)

Polish poet Tomasz Różycki grew up in Opole, Silesia, in southwestern Poland. When Silesia was awarded to Poland after World War II, an estimated 4 million citizens of German descent were expelled from the region. Silesia was resettled by Poles, including Różycki’s family, who were forced out of eastern cities such as Lviv (present-day Ukraine) during the post-war re-drawing of European boundaries.

[Research note: Tomasz Różycki, The Forgotten Keys (Brookline, MA: Zephyr Press, 2007), p. 43]

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