A Dream


In my dream the bus stops at the cemetery
the moon is at the very heart of concentric circles

a crumb of the apocalypse
suddenly tears from it

sunset light is dripping from above
black smoke is crawling through the streets of the town

my college friends from Toruń, and my aunt
are waiting for the end of the world

get in they say there is still one more seat

Poem from The Wall & Beyond


The End of the World


Everyone hid in concrete.
Busy with final errands,
some remained out in the streets.
They could see the sky above.

The sun, too close to the moon,
burst suddenly. We saw through
the concrete’s dirty windows,
it was dark and cold outside.

Dense fog came. “If I must die,
I want to go out and see
how the world ends,” said the child
in an old woman’s body.

The air was too pure to breathe
at first. She lay on the ground,
expecting death. The high sky,
the color of mud, bubbled.

Drops were falling like stars;
then burst into a vapor
Huge flowers formed in the air,
intensely green and solid.

A wall of fantastic shapes
unrolled. Her death behind her,
she only feared the woman
with a child, once seen on a train.

The child called “Let’s go and pick
dandelions!” The woman snarled,
“Sit down!” Their train keeps rolling
through a world that never ends.

Poem from The Butterfly’s Choice

(First published in Off The Coast;
also in Levure Littéraire and Pisarze).


Pupil of the Eye


You could have made me your magnifying glass
to view the beginning; or the patient lenses
of a cat or a gorilla, as they perceive you
surrounding, gel-like, your pupils which
keep growing in amnesia and madness.
But no, you have placed your weary sight,
tearful because of old age and sadness,
in my mind, to witness the final days.

Squeezed between your heavy eyelids,
I crouch as your upper one falls slowly
(though for you a life is but a blink).
A conscious pupil, obedient, I register
smells, sounds, sights, touch, the body’s
revolutions, and the world’s everything.
I lack the cat’s patience, or that of the gorilla,
as she puts her daily food on her tongue,

watching, ever watching, her right paw
not knowing her left, as either one brings
termites into her mouth; splits a nut,
scratches an itch, or supports a cub.
Her body being nothing but a body,
she seeks not to entomb it in a neverland,
for how could she dispose of so much matter?
Other than guarding, her eye is pure sight.

Her body in harmony with the elements,
the gorilla cannot create a god or name
the one who, gel-like, surrounds the pupils
of his divine eye. Yes, she sees—translating
wonder into her body’s necessities.
So you have engendered your eye’s pupil,
after concentrating the All into another spark
—me. Between the shutting of your eyelids,

I slowly move my eyes from my body’s wants
to the melting ice-caps, the acidic rain falling
onto the fishing spots, barbeque yards, and
the vast fields hiding keepsakes from Auschwitz;
to the Hutu cutting the Tutsi heads under the eye
of a green triangle; animals dying in torment
in corporate slaughter houses; calves chained
in tiny tents and choking into a most delicate veal.

I see language vomiting itself in advertisements,
scholars’ treatises, and prosperity sermons;
a baboon for twenty minutes eating a baby-deer
alive, starting with its hind legs; the deer shrieks;
eaten alive by the world’s politics, a Syrian child
shrieks too, over its parents’ bodies, while others
eat, eat, eat into misery and disease; to fulfill
every word of a madman’s revelation.

You watch the world’s last days with your own eye
—me. Your pupils are few and weary, for most
have long solidified into passive fossils.
And yet the starry night grows into a shiny sponge,
the grey egret slowly flies over the highway;
the dove coos at a female in the shrubbery.
And yet between the blinking of your eyelids,
I steal time and fold my momentary lips to deposit
a kiss on my lover’s forehead, in passing.




Snow is falling upon your childhood garden
It covers the cherry tree and blackcurrant bush
Your tiny pink paw is gripping the rope
Pulling the small wooden sleigh, you are going out

Together with kids from the neighborhood
you will run up-and-down the hill, tirelessly
Till your pink paws turn purple; the frost bite
makes your cheeks red—but you won’t mind

Snow is falling on the bus that pulls out
from the Soldiers’ Street. It is Christmas Eve
There are only two passengers, you and I
Not a sound but the engine and snow

We seek sanctuary in an ancient myth
about the manger, Magi, a wolf and a sheep
As if in a horror movie, we close our eyes
for just a moment. This night, time recedes

Snow is falling onto the roofs of townhouses
the firs’ branches bend under its burden
You are pulling me close to you, saying
look how much I have built, a paper hut

a fish-bladder window, a feather wall
a sawdust floor, and a garden of dust—
your joy’s companions, where you’ve spent
flickers of time with loved ones and friends

Snow is falling on your snow-white hands
one of them has lost, the other retained its grip
Resting on your closed eyelids, the flakes
do not melt. It is snow’s final victory.


Poem from
Listen to Ivaana Muse’s rendition of “Snow”


The Day I Became An American


Hello passengers streaming
onto the CTA train

the Latino construction workers,
the East-European maids

Hello the young, texting one another,
the shy, the uncertain ones

Hello those who’ve made a mistake
and those madly in love

Hello farmers selling their produce
at the market place

Hello poets sipping afternoon tea
at their kitchen tables

Hello scholars searching for truth
in schemes’ quagmires

Hello mothers of sick children
without health insurance

Today I am telling you,
I am one of you

Poem from The Butterfly’s Choice


Copyright ©Joanna Kurowska.  Any content from this website may not be reproduced without permission.


18 Responses to “POEMS”

  1. scotthastiepoet Says:

    Hi Joanna,
    I found my way here eventually, as promised – after my daily writing shift! I found I liked the Conrad piece the best – some fresh, original and exciting writing here and real poetic depth in the notions you explore –
    I will be back for sure and look forward to reading more of your work. With Best Wishes Scott http://www.scotthastie.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Sayler Says:

    Lovely work! If you would like for me to review your latest book on the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog – http://thepoetryeditor.blogspot.com – contact me through LinkedIn or my website – http://www.marysayler.com .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. J. Federico Martin Says:

    Dear Ms. Kurowska,

    I hope you don’t mind my giving you my first impression of your poem, “Cloto”. I’ve left out much, since this poem,, like the others, weaves a more complex vision underneath the simple, stark lines.

    As I envision it, each of the first two stanzas of imagery, followed by one line of dialogue, evokes, for me, scenes from a movie.

    For instance, in the first stanza, the camera follows the narrator, who walks into the bar, which is described as being “in the half-gloom of a naked bulb”. The camera then scans the woman in the bar, noting the way she is dressed. ( The “naked bulb” being a metaphor for a run-down bar, and the way the woman is dressed being a metaphor of the past, are both metaphors of time somehow arrested)

    The camera then gives us a close-up of the woman’s face, looking directly at the narrator with her blurry eyes. I would call the woman’s stare a silent monologue (“stares at me tirelessly”)

    In the 2nd stanza, imagery moves from description to motion. That is, clothing now becomes associated with motion: “ Through the holes in her black coat” her “finger-knots” move “one by one,” “weaving an invisible thread”, (the thread of life?)

    This is followed by the line in which the woman speaks prophetically: “You will suffer, she says”.

    Suddenly. the woman and the bar disappear; and the narrator is engulfed in a moment without walls. Only “White” remains, which seems to circle endlessly like a vision without vision.

    Like snow blindness. (End of movie)

    Thanks for sharing your poem,
    J. Federico Martin

    Wednesday, 4 June 2014

    Liked by 1 person

  4. profnaingzaw Says:

    Well composed poems with deep insights.
    Evidently showing the understanding of existence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Caroline Glen Says:

    I like your poem, Vibrations, Joanna. Well done. You are telling a story but I was a little confused at times. Just my opinion, but I early felt that shards argued with bounce and tautology followed. For me, I would like some requests and some statements a little more clarified, then I would think the poem a gem..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rae Desmond JONES Says:

    I like Vibrations also …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rose van Son Says:

    Congratulations Joanna, your new collection of poetry sounds amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. peterforster2012 Says:

    Lovely as usual Joanna evocative and charming 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Zachary D. Switzer Says:

    Wow! The lucid imagery and beautiful cadence that you release in your poetry is outstanding! You paint a picture that resonates within every line! I’m a poet myself, but poetry such as yours, blows mine out of the water! Kudos, from me to you! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. aseriesofdreams Says:

    I have loved all your poems.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. scotthastiepoet Says:

    Very beautiful and maturely crafted writing Joanna… The version with musical accompaniment and sung by Ivanna was equally persuasive… Thank you for bringing this to my attention and we will keep in touch I’m sure – as both our creative paths continue to develop so strongly and in parallel it seems… With Best Wishes Scottie xxx http://www.scotthastie.com

    Liked by 1 person

  12. J.A. Calvillo Says:

    Joanna- I love the pace of this poem and find its thought intriguing: victims and perpetrators reflections in a circle

    Liked by 1 person


    The poems above are certainly a delightful read.Great that the nomination poems have been here.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jeremy Says:

    I’m a rock musician from across the planet and I love your work 🙂 graceful!

    Silence and the Fear Parable are my favorite. Hope you have a pleasant and successful year.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Denis M. Garrison Says:

    These are all fine work – very engaging and fresh. Pupil of the Eye is gripping. Kudos, Joanna!
    – Denis

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Denis M. Garrison Says:

    I found “the drought” a harrowing read because of its authenticity and sense of slipping control. Kudos, Joanna.
    -Denis Garrison

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Eric McDowell Says:

    “the drought” is a wonderful piece, Joanna. . .its imagery and philosophy resonates with me. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. gerald jensen Says:


    Liked by 1 person

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