A White Butterfly (Urszula Koziol)

March 23, 2009

When a white butterfly appeared in the garden
carnations grew inflamed with passion
water lilies looked at their reflection
fearful that they aren’t beautiful enough,
tulips kept bending their necks
(who can resist their exotic lips?)
but the butterfly chose a cabbage.
It has a family to support.

(translated by Regina Grol-Prokopczyk)


When I was in Chicago a couple months ago, my good friend Stephen bought me this beautiful little book of Koziol’s published by Host Publications. Koziol’s indiscriminate trust in the image to carry her poems into what I can only call the sacred is what has drawn me to her poems, and to the poems of her contemporaries. The Polish poets I have read seem to have an ability to render a kind of sacred reality less by an appeal to the metaphysical than to the Earth where even cabbages and butterflies have histories worth recounting.

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