musings, life lessons & poetry from Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Poetry Writing Challenge – Day 5

 Welcome to Day 5 of my 30-Day Poetry Challenge!

    • I’m writing and posting a new poem every day through the month of April (yikes!), for better or worse.
    • AND, as a gift, I’m giving away a copy of my poetry book EVERY DAY this month. FREE!
    • Sign up to WIN a copy of (After) Confession by just leaving a comment beneath the poem of the day.
  • I will pick a winner every day in April! So comment every day for a new chance to win.

OR, you can purchase your own copy of (After) Confession for the new low price of $9.00 USD, shipping and handling included! Click here to read sample poems and purchase a copy.

Congratulations, Kathleen W, for winning a free copy of my poetry book! (I do a raffle from those who commented on yesterday’s post.) Kathleen, please email me your address so I can send your prize:

Now onto today’s poem. Don’t forget to comment, and check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!

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Today’s prompt is pretty abstract, but I decided to take it on. I’ve been intrigued by the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska (especially because of my own Polish heritage), so I picked a short  (less intimidating!) poem of hers I’d never heard of or read in English. My poem is about the intriguing photo at the top of this post. This was pretty challenging, an interesting exercise.

Here’s the NaPoWrimo prompt:  The challenge is to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph, then find a poem in a language you don’t know. Ignore any English translation. Translate the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph. It will be a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully it will lead to new and beautiful (and possibly very weird) places.

[Note: WordPress is not happy with some of the fancy Polish accented letters, so until I figure that out, I’ve had to modify.]

The original poem:

Precz! Ja rosne!

Byl pewien rolnik w Neapolu,
który zasadzil chuja w polu,
gdy przyszedl don na wiosne,
chuj rzecze: “Precz! Ja rosne,
do widzenia, mój drogi Karolu”

And my “translation:”

Listen! You’re Alive

Nobody can tell you anything,
treacherous and steep this way,
climbing mountains can kill you
life beckons: “Listen! You’re alive,
keep going, enjoy the view”

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April is National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

This month’s posts are part of the  NaPoWriMo challenge — that’s National Poetry Writing Month. At, you’ll find links to other participating writers and their poetry. AND daily writing prompts for inspiration to write your own poems. Check them out.

I’m so looking forward to your comments–  it doesn’t have to be about the poem. Write anything, share the name of your favorite poet or poem, write about the weather, whatever! And thanks for reading.

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Photo credit: Ian Froome, courtesy of, and the NY Daily News.


  1. Mary Lee Krahn

    Yes! Life beckons!

    • Theresa Alberti

      It does indeed! That photo really spoke to me, about how hard and dangerous that mountain path looked, how exhausting it would be to climb, and then look at the magnificence at the top.

  2. Sharon

    What a good reminder! “Listen! You’re alive.” I think you were more successful with this prompt than I was. You managed to match up some of the sounds, I think. Good on you.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Thanks– it was pretty tricky, which is why I chose a short poem to “translate.” Kind of like doing a puzzle.

  3. Eileen

    The original poem is quite racy!
    Did you know that?
    It is a bit bawdy bragging by a “big dick”.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Heh, I did not know anything about the poem until after I wrote my mock-translation! I really have’t found an accurate translated version of the poem… just what i put into Google translate. i think it’s funny that I chose a risqué poem! 🙂

  4. Linda Mudry

    Racy, indeed? What’s that they say it loses something in the translation…lol. Thanks for choosing a Polish woman’s poem to translate. I wish I could speak Polish. My grandma Alberti was actually Marya Zagorska before she married my grandfather. She was the most amazing women I have ever known and I’ve tried to follow in her footsteps all the way. Thanks for doing this. I’m so enjoying all of your creative endeavors.

    • Theresa Alberti

      I’ve thought about trying to learn Polish sometime, Linda. Your grandma does sound a spectacular woman… how lucky you had her. Thanks for reading!

  5. Serena

    What a fun challenge! I love both poems, though I speak not a word of Polish! Yes, interesting you picked a risque verse. 😉

    Your poem is wonderful (You know how much I love short poems! Mostly because I can’t write long ones… or don’t have the patience.)

    Nice job! I love you are sharing your work with us.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Dziekuje! (That’s thank you!) 😀

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