A poet, playwright and novelist, Rozewicz is hailed as one of the world’s pre-eminent contemporary writers. Born in Poland in 1921 he studied art history at university, but early on he dedicated himself to writing. His voice is regarded as having high moral authority, especially for those living in Eastern Europe. During World War II … Continued
A poet, playwright and novelist, Rozewicz is hailed as one of the world’s pre-eminent contemporary writers. Born in Poland in 1921 he studied art history at university, but early on he dedicated himself to writing. His voice is regarded as having high moral authority, especially for those living in Eastern Europe. During World War II he joined the Resistance, and wrote of the atrocities that he witnessed at the hands of the Nazis. His book, Our Elder Brother, is a collection of stories dedicated to his brother who was murdered by the Gestapo. In 1947 he published Anxiety and the following year, A Red Glove, both volumes offering a “restrained verse” that has become known as the “fourth versification system” in literary Polish. In 2000, Rozewicz was awarded the NIKE prize for his book Matka Odchodzi (Mother Departs).
Massacre of the Boys
The children cried ‘Mummy!
But I have been good! It’s dark in here! Dark!’
See them They are going to the bottom See the small feet they went to the bottom Do you see that print of a small foot here and there
pockets bulging with strings and stones and little horses made of wire
A great plain closed like a figure of geometry and a tree of black smoke a vertical dead tree with no star in its crown
I am twenty-four led to slaughter I survived.
The following are empty synonyms: man and beast love and hate friend and foe darkness and light.
The way of killing men and beasts is the same I’ve seen it: trucks full of chopped-up men who will not be saved.
Ideas are mere words: virtue and crime truth and lies beauty and ugliness courage and cowardice.
Virtue and crime weigh the same I’ve seen it: in a man who was both criminal and virtuous
I seek a teacher and a master may he restore my sight hearing and speech may he again name objects and ideas may he separate darkness from light.
The Voices Education Project offers tools, philosophies, and learning methods that will help young people understand the roots of conflict and the trauma of war, confront the pain and fear at the heart of conflict, and help to build healthy human communities in the wake of war. We use the arts and education to transform the consciousness of young people, give teachers and students a way to explore the most important and terrifying issues of our day, and create a dialogue in which all voices can be heard, and all points of view included, without engendering fear, hatred, or anger.