Przejście (Transition): the anonymous pedestrians of Wroclaw

the weight of bronze hearts
sinks in anonymity
below the junction
daily traffic flows, feet tread
and the disappeared return

© Kim M. Russell, 2016


My response to Carpe Diem Tanka Splendor #22 Teika’s 8th Tanka Writing Technique – Novel Treatment (prompt: blues) and linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

In today’s episode of the Tanka Splendor month, the Tanka Writing Technique by Teika is ‘novel treatment’ and the prompt to use is ‘blues’. Novel treatment means using an unusual or original poetic concept and the example Chèvrefeuille has given is a poem by Fujiwara Motozane (ca 950) from the Shinkokinshū, #11:1060:

namidagawa / mi mo uku bakari / nagaruedo / kienu wa hito no / omoi narikeri

a river of tears
floats my body off
on its current
but it cannot quell the fire
you have set in my heart

In this tanka (or waka), ‘a river of tears floats my body’ is used to make the emotion more intense.

22 thoughts on “Przejście (Transition): the anonymous pedestrians of Wroclaw

    1. Yes, there is indeed a sad intrigue. The fourteen bronze statues were installed overnight in December 2005 by Polish artist Jerzy Kalina to mark the 24th anniversary of the introduction of martial law in Poland. Many ordinary civilians were killed or went missing and they are represented by seven people disappearing into, or being swallowed by, the pavement on one side of the road, while the seven people emerging on the other side represent the rise of ordinary men and women after martial law was lifted. I wrote a poem last year based on photographs my husband brought back from Poland. This is one of many I took on our trip last week.


    1. It was overwhelming to see the statues in real life and to get up so close. There was another monument I plan to write about that made me cry. The gnomes dotted about the city cheered me up, though – they’re everywhere in all sorts of costumes, settings and poses!


    1. I have been fascinated by the statues for several years now, since my husband returned from one of his visits with photos of them. It’s hard to believe that people were disappearing in Poland right up until the early eighties.


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