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Wooden Bird

What about the soldiers? What of them?
When the later ones came,
how did they seem to you?
They were grown-ups. I don’t know.
They had rabbit fur ushankas
and heavy coats.
Yes, they sat in the square. That’s it?
They wanted bread.
Did you give them any?
My mother gave me some
to hand them.
They were carving birds.
Out of lime wood, I think, because it’s softer.
I gave one of the soldiers some bread
in return for a wooden bird.
I used to run with it, my arm stretched
high above my head.
One of its wings broke off.
But all through the war, through grey sky,
over blue oceans,
over green lakes and rivers,
red dots of capital cities, brown bumps
of the mountains around and around
the astonishing globe we flew together.

Previous Publication

Everyday Angels (2009)



Maria Jastrzębska At the Library of Memories (2013)

In Maria Jastrzębska’s new collection memory is a powerful and truthful tool, admitting fallibility and never exceeding its prerogative, yet evoking a whole world of tastes and smells, longings, anxieties and human needs. This is vivid, thought-provoking poetry that takes us by stages to the heart of the immigrant experience and leaves us with urgent questions which imperceptibly have become our own.
Susan Wicks

Maria Jastrzębska’s epic new collection is fabulous, audacious and compelling; here are dazzling conjurings of lost times and places, tremendously moving elegies, and astonishing fragments of intricate stories recovered from lost worlds. This exceptional collection is the work of a poet at the height of her imaginative powers.
Nick Drake


ISBN 978-1-906742-57-7


At The Library of Memories leads the reader from the ghost of one room to another, via the senses and catching at fragments of stories. This is an invitation to examine not only individual, arresting memories — at once familiar and disturbing — but the process of remembering itself. How we come to terms with our own past and what collectively we make of it are questions running in and out of these uncompromising, vital and thrilling poems.

For more info: www.mariajastrzebska.wordpress.com


Maria Jastrzębska was born in Warsaw, Poland and came to England as a child. Previous collections include Syrena (Redbeck Press, 2004), I’ll Be Back Before You Know It (Pighog Press 2009) and Everyday Angels (Waterloo Press, 2009). She co-translated Elsewhere the selected poems of Iztok Osojnik with Ana Jelnikar (Pighog Press, 2011). She is the co-editor of several anthologies including Forum Polek bilingual women’s anthology, Poetry South (2007), Whoosh! (Pighog Press, 2008), and Different and Beautiful (Allsorts Youth Project).

Her poems feature in the British Library project Between Two Worlds Poetry and Translation and are widely anthologised: from The Virago Book of Wicked Verse, Parents (Enitharmon, 2000), Images of Women (Arrowhead 2006) to See How I Land - Oxford Poets & Exiled Writers (Heaventree Press 2009), Warsaw Tales (New Europe Writers, 2010), This Line Is Not For Turning, An Anthology of Contemporary British Prose Poetry (Cinnamon Press 2011) and Collective Brightness (Sibling Rivalry Press, U.S.A, 2011).

Following a Wellcome Trust award, her drama Dementia Diaries toured nationally with Lewes Live Literature in 2011. A co-founder of South Pole artists’ network and Queer Writing South she lives in Brighton. See also: www.south-pole.org.uk

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