Poetry has ultimately left mass media or perhaps has been kicked out. And since what is mass is often the only that reaches us, poetry has also left our lives. Every now and then it comes back. Flickers , flicks and disappears. If poetry is brought to life, it is most certainly thanks to its great author’s death.
In this manner, mass media together with social networks recently reminded us about “Czas na mnie” by Tadeusz Różewicz. Różewicz died on 24thApril 2014. The poem is not new and it is undeniably superb. Nothing to be excited about by modern journalism criteria. But the naked truth and topic it presents makes it permanently current. We are talking about death.
Son talks to his mother before the final departure trying to grasp what he has been involved in, what is life and what is left of it. There is nothing he needs in this journey and there seems to be nothing special about his life. That’s all. That’s it.
Różewicz is famous for his simplicity. The poem seems to be a cluster of crude and common expressions: “więc to już”, “a więc to tylko tyle”, “tylko tyle”. Reduction and master arrangement of those “clumsy statements” reveals the genius. With every word we immerse in feelings of powerlessness, disappointment and astonishment.
Death ceased to be shocking. It is ubiquitous. Death appears in films, video games and on the evening news. However, the images we know are so gaudy and noisy, so brutal or shallow that eventually they become distant and unreal.
Różewicz’s words are familiar and subdued yet sharp and piercing. While reading we cannot escape thinking about death. Różewicz makes us feel that there is truly nothing more but also that there is nothing bad about it. You couldn’t have done anything differently, it’s not your fault. It’s alright, but you need to give it up.
If live is about learning and exploring the world, then this great poem is a tough but useful lesson. Fine poetry should give us access to new experiences, render ideas which we cannot comprehend. The importance and magnificence of this poems stems from one inalienable truth- at some point, all of us will have to take this class.
Czas na mnie
co ze sobą zabrać
na tamten brzeg
więc to już
to już wszystko
a więc to tylko tyle
więc to jest całe życie
tak całe życie