Four Poems by Jacek Gutorow (b. 1970)


The box on the table has begun to think.

Thinking beyond me.

Or is it just my imagination?

Of course not. It is. Meditating behind my back.


I don’t see it. How do I know it is thinking?

This thought has just occurred to me.

The thought that a wooden cube

has begun to think.


I turn around.

Tap my finger against the plywood.

Look inside.


I can see one hollow thought.


Translated by Piotr Florczyk




Reading Homer
to Stanisław Vicenz

Another stilt, another verse

to prop the rest. The sky is sour, full

of lingering snow. Beyond that hill

we find some washed up afternoon red,

but that’s it. The words tilt in our direction

and the signal arrives, the road is cleared: we set off from a venerable

German village to a city of memories,

passing by the undeveloped pictures of the past.


How come, Odysseus? All you needed to do was reach

Ithaca. No sentimental excursions,

metered sentences, wondrous pictures

scattered like poppy seed from an open hand.

Your task was to return and settle down. And here you are — entering gardens

like swift digressions, seducing girls and birds,

traversing in stately gait the ungainly whole.


Translated by Kacper Barczak



Parched Throat

Can’t speak. The last rainless droplet.

Dust blocks the passage of thoughts,

And they get mired at midpoints; soon they’ll be stuck for good.

Gravel. Pebbles. Each crack filled to the brim.

A veritable congestion. Like there are no words.

You say something and you hear a river flee to its dry spring,

An orchard coming down to light close to the earth and deeper, into grainy dusk

Beneath your fingers. Life got stuck inside and stays there, baked in.

It would rather speak; instead it makes parched circles.


Translated by Kacper Bartczak




Why I keep silent is a question

it makes no sense to answer the trees

crowd the horizon in rows only the song

remains the song is a confession

band over band of yellow sky

at evening when platforms

depopulate the case is closed just please

no more questions the boat finally

at rest at some age

one no longer waits for wind one waits for a deeper

breath that’s why I keep silent why I am silent now


Translated by Kacper Bartczak