Poles and Poland in Translation

Have been asked to review a couple of books of Polish poetry, in translation, for a literary magazine. This means putting brain very much in gear, since this is demanding (but also rewarding) stuff. Wish my dad had taught me Polish when I was a child - especially now, when bilingualism might give me another source of income, since the UK is currently inundated with incoming Poles.
My dear, late dad came over here at the end of the war, via Italy, with a Polish (tank) unit of the British army. He had had a horrible bleak time of it,during a war which included the complete loss of house and home, the imprisonment and subsequent death of his own father, and successive occupations from West and East. There was a spell living in the forest, and at some time he acted as courier for the resistance. He was also in a prisoner of war camp for a time. He was a lovely lovely dad: patient, kind, optimistic and interested in everything. He almost never spoke about the war, although he did tell me plenty about his childhood in the Polish 'wild east' in what is now the Ukraine and wrote quite a lot of it down for me. Much of it was extraordinary - tales from a lost world.
He was stationed near Helmsley in North Yorkshire, and after he was demobbed, worked in a mill, on the outskirts of Leeds, which was where he met my mum. He was an economic migrant, I suppose. Later, my mum told me, somebody said to her 'I think they should send all those awful Poles back, don't you?' and she said 'No. I've just married one.'
He was trying to improve his English (and studying at night school - he subsequently became quite a distinguished research scientist) so when I came along, we always spoke English at home, although we did sometimes eat Polish food, and we did follow Polish traditions at Christmas and Easter.
Later still, I started to write a novel - a sort of Polish 'Gone with the Wind'. I didn't realise that, at the time when I began it, Poland was very far from being a marketable proposition.
Of which more, in due course!

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