Jerzy Ficowski
Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Grotz & Piotr Sommer

long ago in the Guam ArchipelagoI met the four-wingedPantarheiawith large slanted eyesoneon each wingnot noted in Linnaeustoday she is flying to mealready half way hereshe hobbles in the airsmy three-winged oneasymmetricalthe Youppi typhoontore from herthe fourth wingI keep it in this drawerthe left hazel one now asleepcarefuldon’t touch becauseit’s losing sightand thereYouppi junior lurksfor one more sidelong glanceor maybe even threeslant-eyedand you are flying afteryour ruin or toyour ruinwho knows Pantarheiayou are halfway nowso many years and yearsand yearsonly in flight and flightand flightoh how long it isthis halfway


na Archipelagu Guampoznałem ongiś Pantarejęczteroskrzydłąz wielkimi skośnymi oczymapo jednymna każdym skrzydlenienotowaną w Linneuszuwłaśnie dziś leci do mniejest już w połowie drogiutyka w powietrzachmoja trójskrzydłaasymetrycznaczwarte skrzydłourwał jejtajfun Youppimam je w tej szufladzieśpi mu już lewe piwneo strożnienie dotykać botraci wzroka tamYouppi junior czyhana jeszcze jedno powłóczystea może i trzyskośnookiea ty lecisz poswoją zgubę czy naswoją zgubękto wie Pantarejojesteś w połowie drogityle już lat i lati lati ciągle lot i loti loto jakże długa jestpołowa drogi

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Jerzy Ficwoski

Jerzy Ficowski (1924-2006) was a poet, songwriter, and scholar on the Polish Roma population, as well as of the writer-artist Bruno Schulz. Recent translations of Ficowski’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Nation, New York Review of Books, and Ploughshares.


Jennifer Grotz is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Window Left Open. Also a translator from the French and Polish, her most recent translation is EVERYTHING I DON’T KNOW, the selected poems of Jerzy Ficowski, co-translated with Piotr Sommer and forthcoming from World Poetry. Her poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, New York Review of Books, Ploughshares, New England Review, and in five volumes of the Best American Poetry anthology. Director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, she teaches at the University of Rochester.

Piotr Sommer is the author of Continued (Wesleyan University Press, 2005) and Overdoing It (Hobart and William Smith Colleges Press, 2013). His collected poems, Po Ciemku Też(Also in the Dark) appeared in Poland in 2013.

World Poetry Books is an independent publisher dedicated to the discovery, translation, and promotion of vital poetry written in languages other than English. We introduce extraordinary works from a wide range of cultures and eras because we see world literature as a network of languages that enhance and enliven each other. Therefore we champion exceptional literary translators at all stages of their careers, and invite our readers to celebrate the art of translation, essential to the vibrant circulation of words and ideas.

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