|coat of arms|
- Polak Mały (A little Pole).
Jaki znak twój? (What’s your symbol?)
- Orzeł Biały (The White Eagle)
This is the start of a progression of simple questions and answers in a format of a rhymed poem, known to every Polish child. I don’t know why it is in my head for the past week. Is it related to the nostalgia of Holidays, from shopping in Kristina’s Deli, Chicago Polish store, or just from watching my children interacting with grandparents via Skype with very little Polish language to offer?
I had to google that. I know the rhymes but I did not remember the real title. „Wyznanie Wiary Dziecięcia Polskiego” (Polish Child’s Proclamation of Faith) also called after the collection of poems published together: ‘Catechism of the Polish Child' (Katechizm Polskiego Dziecka) was composed by the Polish patriotic poet Władysław Bełza over 117 years ago. The goal was to rouse and preserve patriotism among children in Poland during the dark period in which Poland ceased to exist on a map, and the world was nearing the World War I. The rhymed forms and simplicity of the poem helped learn every child the basic symbols of the country.
I’wonder if Bełza had a vision of his poem to be so timeless that it would infiltrate the national conscience and will be passed from generation to generation.
Because I too as a child repeated that enthusiastic mantra many many times.
At that time I would not think once that I would leave my country and grew my new roots on a different continent. That very mantra deeply rooted in my ego resurfaces itself once in a while leaving me with a feeling of lost and even a hint of betrayal on my part. It may be also one of the reasons why after 18 years of living in the US of America I still did not obtained an American citizenship. Anyway here it is the whole poem (with my translation):
— Polak mały. (A little Pole)
— Jaki znak twój? (What is your symbol?)
— Orzeł biały. (The While Eagle)
— Gdzie ty mieszkasz? (Where Do you live?)
— Między swemi. (Amongst my own)
— W jakim kraju? (In what country?)
— W polskiej ziemi. (On Polish soil)
— Czem ta ziemia? (What is that soli?)
— Mą ojczyzną. (My fatherland)
— Czem zdobyta? (How obtained?)
— Krwią i blizną. (With blood and scar)
— Czy ją kochasz? (Do you love her?)
— Kocham szczerze. (I love her heartfelt)
— A w co wierzysz? ( And what do you be live in?)
— W Polskę wierzę! (I believe in Poland!)
— Coś ty dla niej? (Who are you to her?)
— Wdzięczne dziécię. (A grateful child)
— Coś jej winien? (What do you owe her)
— Oddać życie. (To give my life)