Baczyński 3

In the Spojrzenie [The Glimpse] , Baczynski is looking into a mirror and sees multiple reflections. He is seeing ghosts from a world that didn't manage to happen; its time has passed and won't ever return. He is looking at the present from a future in which he no longer exists. The mirror does not reflect his image, it only reflects the versions that have not become flesh. But they are real in some way. They are a part of the one that looks and speaks, and that exists in their inevitable, real time. They remain in the timeless, circular memory of the Universe. They are “what was and what will be”. What, however, is of little consolation for the onlooker, who can clearly see his imminent, inevitable end.

Halina Żelaska recalls the death of Baczyński, whom she had met already during the rising. She describes him as a skinny, tired, scared boy with a sad look on his face. He died on the fourth day of the rising, through carelessness. He sat in the window opposite the Grand Theatre, on the roof of which there was a sniper. He barely sat, when he got a bullet in the head. Halina Żelaska, as she was checking his pulse, was surprised to see how little blood was coming from the hole in his temple, and a moment later Baczyński was dead.

W. B. Yeats, a poet who died not long before Baczyński, but who lived a much longer life, in a completely different place and time, in his essays talks a little about ghosts. About raising the spirits of his past incarnations. He also talks about combining poetry with music, which he had no confidence in, but which he explored intensively for some time. He was interested in the music contained in the text itself, as he wrote it, but rejected with disgust the possibility of someone else adding music to text written by him. In collaboration with Florence Farr, he coined the method of score notation, suggesting pitch and emphasis, which he used for several of his poems. They were performed by Farr with the accompaniment of a psalterion. Yeats also talks about drama, but that's a topic for another time (maybe).

For most of this week, I thought today I was going to write about downtime. I had no idea how to get started with these texts, where to start and which way to go. But at about Friday something started to emerge. A snippet of the melody of the words “will not return” and snatches of harmony. A circle of fading chords, half-open, half-closed, I would say. Through this half-opening I can already see my way to the Christmas Eve. But I’m not there yet.

PS. When I was studying in Louisville, Adam Zagajewski once led a workshop for literature students who wanted to write poetry. The meeting was open to the public, so of course I went. Americans in their early 20s are sometimes hard to talk to. They find it difficult to grasp that there is life going on outside America, and that America is not at the centre of that life. It also happens that they are not very comfortable with the fact that points of view different than their own exist, and that points of view may be subject to modification. Adam Zagajewski held the workshop as a conversation, with great style. He listened patiently and intently to the students’ declamations, he took a moment to think, and then asked questions, not showing any surprise at the answers. After the meeting, I walked up to him for a moment, even though I didn't have much to say, but I wanted to say something nonetheless. He smiled when he heard that I was from Gliwice. He didn't mind me using his poem, Cisza [Silence], in a song. He wished me luck.


(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)