My perception of Ireland leads to poetry, fresh greenness and people’s kindness. One of the contemporary Polish poets named Ernest Bryll once said, that Irish land is for those who are tender-hearted. Perhaps, he was absolutely right.
I came to Ireland in 2006, just after my graduation at university. I was trying to get accustomed to shivering of my voice which was breaking the soft English vowels, new landscapes and the sky bending towards me with sparkling colour grey. As my passion for literature was still strong I kept reading, writing and dreaming.
A year ago, by a pure accident, I found out about the literary organization called Over The Edge which was looking for some volunteers. The plan was to organize the Polish Poetry Evening in Galway to meet the expectations of a serious amount of Poles in that time and all those interested in exploring exciting new literatures. I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar DuMars while working over the Polish Poetry Evening. The event itself turned out to be a success and it attracted lots of different people. Significant Polish poets’ works and biographies (Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert, Wisława Szymborska, Aleksander Wat, Halina Poświatowska, Marcin Świetlicki and others) were presented. Also some Polish volunteers, including myself, took a plunge and read out their own poems.
A couple of weeks later Michael O’Loughlin, also present at the Poetry Evening, wrote to me asking if I wanted to contribute my short piece of a poetic prose to his book: Galway, city of strangers, a collection of various literary forms created by different immigrants living in Galway. That is how I got published in Ireland.
In May and in the autumn 2008 I attended to a couple of the poetry workshops in Galway Arts Centre facilitated by Kevin Higgins. Gloomy late afternoons, often rainy and cold brought an interesting perspective of learning so much about poetry and, in fact, touching “the real poetry”. It was an amazing and wonderful opportunity to develop writing techniques in English and meet interesting people (with their individual views) and confront them of course. Participating in this kind of activity helps in gaining the necessary confidence to present any pieces of work in public. It also built up the essential writing skills and made me realize why I write, what I might like to achieve in the future. I did present a few of my poems twice: during the 2008 Westside Festival and during English classes (devoted to the immigrants’ aspect in Galway) following the kind invitation of Kevin Hynes from the NUI Galway.
Being able to use a foreign language despite its twists, tricks and thorns in a creative way has been a great challenge to me, without a doubt. I am still fighting the limits and trying to capture the enigmatic depths of the beautiful English language. Anyhow, I write poems only in English. Ireland, I will always appreciate that…
3 poems by Kinga Cybulska
A tram meanders slowly to the airport.
I used to look through dusty blinded windows
And I am sighing now. The time is quoting itself.
The road diverged in Warsaw: exquisite greyness.
Always the underground of existence, fame of sorrows.
I am smuggling my books, ginger biscuits, my Master of Arts.
Gaining the bitterness of Guinness and a bite of W B Yeats.
Spitting out the sticky joke of a month salary.
Over fifty years of systems disguised in glamorous ideas.
I will miss stunning ugliness, crushing leaves with my heels.
Sweet, cold mornings of weakness in November.
The road diverged in Warsaw. It was four o’clock in the morning
In New York and a man enjoyed espresso on his way to work.
Dreams and awakenings
Every night and every morning
Possibilities crawl undefined.
I could have been this girl –
Her face drifting in a puddle of a window
On a night train to Paris.
Or with every anorexic reflection
Living on self hatred and lettuce.
A mythological sylph in disguise
Giggling viciously outside heaven.
Wrong was the sudden quaver in my legs,
Fatigue on my lips – unlike the loquacity of yours.
There were many bottles
Jingling mellow and softly, breaking fantastically.
Let’s liquefy our devotion.
I’ll be your bloody naughtiness
Where your loneliness gasps
And your monotony.
The small pantry where you used to bite through candies
And wild Angelica loved blenched almonds.
Words. I am tasting dirt.
Kinga Elwira Cybulska is from Lublin, Poland. In 2006 she received her MA in Polish language and literature at Catholic University of Lublin (KUL). Her work was published in the anthology: Galway city of strangers, Edited by M. O’Loughlin. In 2008 she participated in the Polish Poetry Evening (organized by Over The Edge). She also attended a couple of Kevin Higgins's poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre. Currently she is involved in writing for the Polish internet website. The main area of interests includes: "the stream of consciousness", slightly darker sides of a human nature, angelology and various kinds of feminism. Some poems of Kinga's will feature in an anthology of poetry by immigrants to Ireland, co-edited by Eva Burke, which will be published next year by Dedalus Press.