Diary of the Plague Year: Day 24 8 April 2020: Wildflower meadow continued …


This morning started off very misty but the sun soon burst through and today was like summer. It was hot work mowing and raking.

According to the purists I have gone about this arse over tit.  The meadow should have been mowed in October/November. Well, I wasn’t here to do it so that’s that. It has now been mowed and I am in the process of hauling the cut grass off it. Some of it I have close-mown, leaving some of it just strimmed as a sort of control. It will be interesting to see what comes up. I just hope I haven’t thrown out the baby with the bathwater though I imagine any seeds in the grass will have been disturbed and dispersed and so as spring seems very late this year maybe no great harm …. what I need now is a deluge. The forecast is good for the next couple of days. I honestly didn’t think I would be happy for it to rain ever again after the winter we have just had.

On the radio – L’apres midi d’un faune.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 24 8 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry Ryszard Krynicki

Pass it On

Independent of nothingness, let us pass on
the sky-high writing of the clouds,

let us pass it from mouth to mouth.

Ryszard Krynicki, one of Poland’s most important contemporary poets, was born in a labour camp in Sankt Valentin (Lower Austria) in 1943. Since the 1960s, when he became known as one of the poets of the New Wave, Krynicki has been associated with the democratic opposition in Poland. As a result he was subjected to censorship and then banned completely from official publication between 1976 and 1980, although he continued to publish with unofficial presses and , in the case of Our Life Grows (1978), with the Paris émigré press Kultura. After working for years as an editor in underground publishing and running a private art gallery with his wife, Krystyna, in their Poznań apartment, he founded the influential publishing house a5 in 1988; from the start, the press focused on contemporary Polish poetry, including the works of Wislawa Szymborska, Adam Zagajewski, and many younger poets. Krynicki is also renowned as a translator of German-language poets, including Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan. A recipient of many prestigious literary awards, he was most recently awarded the Zbigniew Herbert International Poetry Prize in 2015. He lives in Krakow.



Our Life Grows

New York Review Books

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 24 8 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry Ryszard Krynicki (1943 – )


Ryszard Krynicki


Wastepaper, Trash, Scrap Iron

Atlantologists of the future,

our small victories and great defeats,
our small truths and great lies,
our paper cities,
our incurable diseases,
our fickle hearts,
our anesthetized minds,
our little hopes and big delusions

really existed.

These layers of limestone
are our bones.

These imperishable plastic objects
weren’t our talismans, we had them
in daily use.

These glass-screened boxes
were not our gods, although often
they were used as a means
to subjugate our will
and break our spirit.

It was not unheard of
for even our thoughts to be listened in on.

The truth is also
that we multiplied like beasts
and fed on our brothers: animals and plants
having no other way to perpetuate
our own kind.

We should not have murdered each other
in the name of the inhuman Chimera
a better future.

Atlantologists of the future time,
wastepaper, trash, scrap iron
if they endure
may not be the best testimony to us
but we existed all right

and we were conscious of our existence.



Our Life Grows
Ryszard Krynicki

Translated by Alissa Valles
Afterword by Adam Michnik