Landscape with Buses

 

On both sides of the frontline,

orchards in bloom.

People buy and sell goods,

occupy central squares,

dogs run after barefoot children

with grain baskets – linen flags.

Buses on schedule, taxis in queue.

 

Business as usual.

Gunshots, grenades, mortars.

 

Stray barks come out of houses

with blown-up windows. Splinters

rising – morning’s canines.

Soldiers wake up to the call to prayer,

switch radio on, shave by the roadside.

Nametags rest in shoe polish tins,

heat bakes bread already sliced.

Buses carry wounded further inland.

 

Poem published in Sweat, Ink and Tears, 8th Jan. 2019, available here.

©Maria Stadnicka, 2019

Video

A City Preview – London on Thursdays

Poetry reading: Maria Stadnicka reading the poem City from the collection Imperfect published by Yew Tree Press, 2017. Poem published in International Times, January 2017.

Music: Katie McCue

Video footage: World War One Archive

Thought

Tomorrow will come with a sunny spell,

the rain will stop at the border so

we will begin the long-waited rebellion,

as they say,

at the right moment.

 

To satisfy our need for greatness,

we will politely ask the just questions and

sit on the pew

in return for the hand-written answer.

 

We will finally go home,

or so we believe,

to master the only remedy left for pain – patience.

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Photograph: @John Stadnicki, ‘Street Cafe’

In Other Words, Freedom

The fatal morning Europe woke up and thought it had something to say,

there was nobody else left in the world able to listen.

Oh, earth, the bones had gathered to queue for bread,

by the front door at Saint Joseph seminary.

 

An ordinary day for ordinary death.

The bakery opened and closed.

The workers arrived on time for a last shift then went home.

The ovens had no traces of grain.

 

The ink stained hope filled up rusty water pipes.

The crowds’ whisper went on, up the hill, out of the city.

 

After that, freedom meant nothing.

It all came down to

who could hold the front running place the longest.

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What Happened with Clare

to Clare B.

Clare didn’t wear
green trousers anymore.
It was a kind of winter
so she decided
other colours were
better suited for her there,
as she sat on the cross.

Her face had lots of
squares and dots and lines on it.
I remember at one point
some glue.
Her face had music.

Clare didn’t say much but
I noticed how she put down
the empty cup
and replied ‘well, good bye then!’.

Her giggle melted in a slice of bread,
flowing over a blank canvas.

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Photo: Maria Butunoi

Persistent Ink (II)

I live in a round house across the road
And every day I wave the invisible white flag
Just to distract you from writing so many letters.

Other times, all I do is stare at your reflected image
Bent over the desk,
Thinking whether your back is broken
Having to bear so many words.

You do not lift your eyes up
Never see anything but yourself.
The only time you stand up and walk to the door
Is to refill the glass with sand.

You do not receive news from the outside world
You do not know we live in times of peace now.
All the sealed envelopes have not been delivered anywhere
For a very long time.

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