Polish Language Blog

Celebrating Polish Independence in poetry Posted by on Nov 9, 2020 in Culture

Music and poetry helped in keeping the spirit of independence alive during the 123 years Poland was under partition from Austria, Prussia and Russia.

So many Polish poets wrote amazing poems about love for their homeland, important historical events, figures of heroes fighting for a free homeland and about their patriotic feelings.

Poland’s National Independence Day (Narodowe Święto Niepodległości Polskimarks the anniversary of the country’s independence in 1918. With this day approaching, I would like to share with you my favorite poem which is full of love for my homeland. Before I do that, let’s just look back quickly at the history of this important day.

Poland regained its independence (niepodległość) on November 11, 1918, after 123 years of partitions (rozbiory) by Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia. On November 11th 1918, the Polish Military Organization’s secret departments (Tajne wydziały Polskiej Organizacji Wojskowej), demobilized soldiers and legionnaires disarmed the Germans in Warsaw and other Polish towns. The Regency Government (Rada Regencyjnaappointed Józef Piłsudski as commander in chief over the Polish forces and 3 days later he was given complete civil control. He formed a new centralized government, which on November 21st issued key measures including a manifesto of agricultural reforms (manifest reform rolniczych). Piłsudski also brought in more favorable conditions for the workers and called parliamentary elections.

November 11th was announced a national holiday in 1937. However, it was removed as an official holiday from 1939 to 1989. The holiday was restored in 1989 and has since been a national public holiday.

Independence Day in Poland in 2018. Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay

Antoni Słonimski


I cóż powiedzą tomy słowników,

Lekcje historii i geografii,

Gdy tylko o niej mówić potrafi

Krzak bzu kwitnący i śpiew słowików.

And what will the volumes of the dictionaries say,

History and geography lessons,

As soon as it can talk about it

A bush of lilac blooming and the song of nightingales.

Choć jej granice znajdziesz na mapach,

Ale o treści, co je wypełnia,

Powie ci tylko księżyca pełnia

I mgła nad łąką, i liści zapach.

Although you will find its borders on the maps,

But about the content that fills them,

Only the full moon will tell you

And the fog over the meadow, and the smell of the leaves.

Pytasz się, synu, gdzie jest i jaka?

W niewymierzonej krainie leży.

Jest w każdym wiernym sercu Polaka,

Co o nią walczył, cierpiał i wierzył.

You ask, son, where is it and what?

It lies in an unmeasured land.

It is in every Pole’s faithful heart,

Who fought for it, suffered and believed.

W szumie gołębi na starym rynku,

W książce poety i na budowie,

W codziennej pracy, w życzliwym słowie,

Znajdziesz ją w każdym dobrym uczynku.

In the hype of pigeons in the old square,

In the poet’s book and at the construction site,

In everyday work, in a kind word,

You will find it in every good deed.

Red and white! Image by _Alicja_ from Pixabay


Happy Independence Day!!!

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.