March 1943

Wspomnienia Franciszka Matysiaka, cz. 1

Teresa Jabłońska-Matysiak

Panis bene merentium (Free translation: The bread of those who deserve it; An allusion referring to award for services ). Some are in need of so much and so many, Just so they be happy. An estate, fame and friends, And a car and a villa owned by them. Modest are my requirements, And much less are my needs. As much for my labour, So as a piece of bread can I buy. One loyal companion, Who shall betray me not. And a glass of wine on a holy day. As water is not my drink at all. Quite a small room, Where silence would be my host. With windows facing sunsets, At which sweet will I muse. A room where there will be, A crystal radio cheap, And some tobacco and matches On my table every day. As peace of the evening of life, As the silence of a solitary cell Is but panis bene merentium Of those who suffered so much. 15th March 1943 There are three components of beauty: faith, love and goodness. At this moment I peel off words from my lips. I place them in the palm of my hand. I weigh them. I look at them. And I wonder if they are simple enough, satisfying enough. As in simplicity there is no deceit, within simplicity there are unfeigned feelings. As it is, I want to write about things filled with sensitivity the most. Such a small thing, like – mother. One woman. Everything. Faith, love and goodness. Apart from that – nothing. As… do we need more? No… there is no need for more because one cannot have more. There are three mothers I am interested in right now. First of all – my mother. As there is no politeness in these things. It is my mother first of all and above all. For me. Your mother is first of all and above all for you. You will not take my mother from me, nor will I take your mother from you. Because one just cannot do so. So… three mothers. Mine. The doctor’s wife – the mother of little doctors. A shop keeper – Karol’s mother. And a small town. When I used to come to the doctor’s house, I shuffled my feet politely and said, “Kissing your hands” (transl. note: polite way of greeting – used as a common form of greeting, esp. women). And then I kissed hands. When they used to come to me, they used to say to my mother, “Kissing your hands”, and they never did kiss them. They shuffled their feet politely and expressed their readiness to do so. But I used to say to Karol’s mother, “Kissing your hands.” This way I expressed my readiness to do so, and I shuffled my feet politely. So here you have this provincial custom. It seemed that everything was in order. But this seemed so only for a relatively short while. First of all, I stood up for my mother. What’s going on? Why are they not kissing my mother’s hand. Is it because that hand looks so worn-out with work? But, it was still a magnificently beautiful hand. It is not even the fact, that this hand is so understanding and forgiving. It is just simply beautiful as a hand, although wrinkled and looking tired with work. And in its diligent goodness – so very much provident. Therefore, one day I rebelled. I did not kiss the hand of the doctor’s wife, I kissed the hand of Karol’s mother. Of course, this was not an affectionate hand as the most loving hands were those of my mother. But at that moment I thought that for Karol that hand was filled with affection. It’s not that this hand was more ugly than my mother’s hand. It was, that for Karol - the sweetness of the hand was the same – it’s really so difficult to say it somehow. I had an arrangement with my mother: no goodbyes with me, no greetings. I came home and was simply there – at home. When I left – I was not there. Or, maybe even then, I was still at home? If so, then maybe I still am? I think I am, and it doesn’t matter that I am here. It’s just a joke of some sort. An emotional joke. I would not be my mother’s son if I were not proud of my mother. She is a truly extraordinary woman. If I return, I will settle down immediately for several months. And I will write a book. And I even know its title. Depending on the number of pages. If for instance, there would be 216 pages the book will be entitled “Two hundred and sixteen pages”. The whole book will be about my mother. My mother will be on each and every page of the book. Why, therefore, should there be any other title. Any other title would be too small. Today, when pain awakens me at night I will desire, just as I did yesterday, for my mother to sit at my bedside. I have the right to know, that when her hand touches me, the pain will stop. There are three components of beauty: faith, love and goodness. They all converge in a mother. In my mother. And in every mother of every one of you. 29th March 1943

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