This post is also available in: polski (Polish)
This year, the White Locomotive / “Biała Lokomotywa”/ – cozy literary festival from Łazieniec, in Poland organized by Daria Lisiecka, sat at my table in Galway, in Ireland. Locomotive whistled LIVE through the monitor window. For me it was an awesome experience, truly intense, but different if I could sit under a tree in the front of Edward Stachura’s house. However, digitally the White Locomotive had the same power to take me to the meadow.
Here are the feelings I wrote about as a viewer.
Friday, 20.19 pm IRL time, some clouds.
I sit down on the plush sofa in front of the computer. My cat peeks at me from the opposite chair, wondering why I am so happy. I have herbal tea with blackberries in a tourist mug at my fingertips. And the White Locomotive takes me straight from the screen to the lyrical field. The memories wink at me in the moonlight, longings wear melange socks, and anti-covid-19 masks have doggy faces.
I like that White Locomotive happens live and everything is possible. The bard’s guitar string breaks, the poet slips, YouTube gets stuck (I do not like that ). Because White Locomotive is not a directed performance but is people – we are close to poetry, sweating in the summer on the tram, with raindrops in our hair, with a pin on the lapel of a denim jacket, with a dusty bandana as an anti-Covid-19 mask.
We travel from Kujawy, Wroclaw, Pomerania, Brno and Ostrava, Algarve, Cracow, Bucharest, Warsaw, from the nameless shores and digital outskirts. We open our eyes with surprises on the way, even at the last stop. We have our own individual paths because the metro does not go through paradise.
Saturday, 2.30 pm island time, a chilly wind and rain are taking over the outside.
But the White Locomotive takes me on a bicycle path to Portugal, where oranges bloom for miles. I can smell the spring in Algarve. Katarina Lavmel’s poems from her poetry book “Anturaż” read in Portuguese tickle my senses – because I love this language.
In a moment, an “Amazing thing” / “Zdumiewająca rzecz”/ happens because together with Maria Znamierowska’s poems, All Brightness of the world flashes even more. Flicking through “Czeski Jedwab” /“Czech Silk“/ I can overhear a conversation on the bus which goes to Rivne in Ukraine. And I feel like a city in the navy blue shadow looks at me, because sometimes, the reality also looks at us, even more – Maria says.
I do not know yet that when the Stachurowie will play, something surprising will also happen. Jerzy Stachura’s dog will lick his face after the song “Zabraknie Ci psa”/”You will miss the dog”. All the while my cat will put his head on the computer keyboard hypnotized by the music and he will listen to this great concert until the end. BTW, my cat has never been so glued to a laptop screen before.
Around 22.00 pm time in Galway, rain stopped.
Daria and Małgosia sit at my table and they do not even know how I am moved by this visit. Daria reads Glimpses captured in amber ink, and I can clearly see that she walks between the verses. Her golden-red hair shines in the September sun. Then Ania, Miłosz, Bartek, Darek, Ania, Justa, and Katarina read one of her poems for her, and for us. Everyone is touched. Edward Stachura looks at everything from the picture. And…
On the dusty road, a pale thread smolders between us. Scorched by the sun, berry bead. The ground trembles and hands, warm again, have canceled the winter. You stand on the balcony, playing with words. And I scream to the stars. The stars melt and drip on my face. And I go where the wind blows my hair and unbuttons my coat.
(from Zuzanna Moczek’s song “Jagoda”/“Bluberry” )
The Nationwide Poet Meetings “White Locomotive” is a cozy literary festival that takes place every year in early September in Łazieniec, in poet Edward Stachura’s home village in Poland. This year the event happened with a smaller group because of covid-19 restrictions, but also the event happened the first time online. The very homely atmosphere takes people closer even digitally. I have been there several times and I will be coming back. Maybe your path will lead you there one day, too.
Here I wrote more about “White Locomotive”
P.S. It was great to see all the familiar and new faces on the screen. I hope to see you next year!
In this text, I used pieces and some inspirations from the poetry of Marek Timko (sweating in the tram), Mircea Dan Duță (the metro does not go through paradise), Edward Stachura (heart falls into snow / ten fingers did not exist/ All Brightness), Katarina Lavmel (where oranges bloom for miles) Maria Znamierowska (a city in the navy blue shadow), and a fragment of the lyrics of a song by Zuzanna Moczek “Jagoda”/ “Blueberry”.
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