Poetry written by Hania Kaczanowska


The Archangel in a Soldier's Boots

Many years ago in the spring of my father’s youth
Began a story that would end up his boots 
The thieves of time created memories painful
As the Russians imprisoned him in Archangel.

He spent his days breaking rocks with an axe
Building many roads and Siberian tracks
He suffered the cold and many times hunger
Archangelska memories of when he was younger

I often wonder what kind of boots he wore 
And what happened to them when he went to war 
He fought the Germans in new soldier's boots
With honour trying to defend his Polish roots

The boots he wore would change over the years 
As they were gladly kicked off to enjoy a few beers
So years after he died I took the boots he left behind
And tried filling them in a garden with plants I could find 

The boots were never happy as all of the flowers died
Every year I'd plant new ones and I really tried 
One day in a greenhouse garden a plant caught my eye 
I still remember that day because it made me cry


One plant was purple and one was white 
It was my dad telling me this plant was right. 
The name "Archangel" sang through the air 
On a bit of my dad’s cigarette smoke that I could smell

I bought both plants, one for each boot
And knew it wouldn't be long for them to take root
My dad was once like the resistant flower 
Placed on Archangel soil without freedom or power 

The fact that he survived has allowed the boots today
To hold the Archangel flower as if to say
I want a flower that can crack the earth to grow
So you can tell a story that everyone should know

It's not the weak and pretty you put on a road to survive 
It is the strength of your roots that will keep you alive.
So place the Archangel in my old stinky boots
And always remember your family's roots.
















                                                                                                              *****


3 God How I Hate the Cold

4 Mamusia and the Red Scarf
5/7 Long Road to the Army
6 The Ghostly Soldier of Buzuluk
9 The Eagle's Tear
9 Dziadek did you have a Gun?
11 The Polish Soldier

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Yellow Archangel,  Lamium galeobdolon

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