Address of Paradise
At the start of this selection, the poet tells of dreams that were emblematic of her early life in Poland. Later, among lyrical poems of childhood, she writes of the source of her language: 'So in the visionary company of the Word I set out barefoot into the cornfields To rattle in the stubble of my first world, My patch of paradise on the River Niemen …' Exploring her roots leads to the recollection of her traumatic departure from Poland, and the fate of millions of others. But exile in a new country gave her consolations: ' ... A tidal sea Keeps out invading hordes … I fill my eyes with seabirds and shapes of boats.' At the end comes her stoical, even humorous, acceptance of illness, which is terminal.
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‘A poet of rare gifts … verse which although essentially elegiac is suffused with joy and wit … a lyricism and music that is all her own. There are poems in which a few lines make the facts of history suddenly palpable; others are comic, others metaphysical; many are both.’ From the Foreword by Philip Marsden
'She remains as quirkily fresh and moving as one of her long-lost Polish meadows - or those Cornish shores where she ended.' John Fowles The Spectator