Agniezka Kuciak, ODYSSEUS AND POZNAŃ [Part II]


There is a cave, light, blooming, open to the brightness of the sea, full of emerald stones, fountains, arras and stalactites. There is a courtyard of fine work, of the same blood as wisdom. Here are oranges and myrtles, scented cedars, and boxwood. Nymph Calypso is hiding Odysseus from his destiny. Amongst bloom and winged words she also hides death itself.

The landscape of art is odd, full of beaming green, a garden of glass and silk, created by a mighty spell. The sculptures are fooling around there and bare beauty strolls: charming and promising pleasure and immortality. Hermes himself leaves a print of his winged foot in pearls on the sand, and odd, mysterious words, in the language of gods and dreams.

There is a passage from the cave into a black forest, Persephone’s darkness. Penelope tends to dream of it a lot. And in the dream she can hear a three-headed dog barking, and she treads on the black stones of terror. These are not black stones, but Eurydice’s black eyes: they cannot stop anyone, they must stay there, in the dark. And she can hear the monster of no-return's bark, but she has no hope, and she screams in her dream and dies.

The wind brings ghosts and ashes of the dead to the island of Poznań. And the ghosts can speak out having drawn some blood. It is then that Penelope slams the chests, then she screams, but the scream never leaves the darkness and Odysseus won’t hear it.

He cannot hear it for humming nympheas. Grateful Calypso is playing the harp. Music has lead Cerberus out from the underground and it keeps him there. Music is all made of lotuses, gratitude and luminous screens. The hero rests along with the music, in curious awe he dreams.

He could pine like that all his life, if it wasn’t for pity found in the nymph’s heart. There are spells so magnanimous that they cease to exist by themselves, to fulfil faithfulness, to fulfil common fate. Nymph Calypso is getting a boat for Odysseus’ return. And the sea is in orderly folds, like the cloth at the bottom of a chest.

So back home Odysseus sails, Penelope is weaving his route. His immortality given up in an enchanted embrace. For, what is immortality without the hand unravelling the linen? For what is mortality without the chests kept under lock and key?


It was back in the times when ladies had so many fabulous adventures that their husbands couldn’t guard them well enough. They could hardly look out of windows or at the weather forecast without fear and low pressure frustrated them. They could see the clouds were lustful, still full of Greek gods’ semen, the thing that, alas, their wives cherish. And they enjoyed light, loving droplets of delicate, yet passionate rain.

Well, admittedly, men can never be fluffy enough, misty enough and tender enough for their exhilarated wives. Besides, back then the city was still not poisoned with the miasmata of gloomy phials of a certain Freud, the charlatan of the sewage system. Clouds still crystal clear, electric, erotic as yet undimmed with smoke of suspicion. God with no self-doubt, had not yet thrown out all the saints with the rain to make space for choirs of psychologists. And he was so fond of Greek mythology.

So the whole of Poznań kissed the clouds, the sky was laughing in all the windows. Women had clouds of Correggio’s paintings in their wallets instead of their husbands’ and children’s’ photos. They came out and climbed Poznań’s peaks, the famous ratajski casa torre and were lying naked in the cumulus clouds, in nubibus and in steaming caresses till rheumatism writhed them. And nine months later Poznań could hear fog whimper. Rumour had it, it was so thick for it was feeding on human milk, breastfeeding, still gasping with curious fantasies. And finally it got ripped by a scream of jealousy and blind fury.

- It’s Pallas who is making this fog – ladies explained to their husbands – we have nothing to do with that.
- His clouds float with might – a pious lady gasped shutting the windows superstitiously.

Knocking on the windows with raindrops, they peeped in to see her undress, and they hung over her all day; the clouds were simply importunate. And so faithfulness had to wear a rainproof dessous.


There is a sea, full of melodious waves, a bridge of light connecting islands. It all leaked out of the cello that God touched with a bow of light.

The weather depends on the repertoire of concerts, therefore the philharmonic in Poznań is sometimes closed. There are cello waves – dark, from the very bottom of the depth, there are flute waves – sunny ones, and there are piano waves. The trumpet and harpsichord normally make storms. And the direction of the wind can be told by the moving bow.

Music is hazardous, with its whirls and depths. While listening to a concert, one should hold on to the one's seat. How many people Poseidon had to pull up by their ears from some molto vivace, appassionato or largo! And the sea is hazardous: it sings of the Trojan War. One needs to tie oneself down tightly so as not to fall prey to a siren, to vanity or hexameter, or the depth in which Scylla lies.

From the waist up- a woman, below – six rabid dogs. In her vicious jaws Anthimos, Ormenos and Stesjos whine. And Sinops, Ornytos and Amphinomos whine inside them. Odysseus is losing his friends in the foamy sea mouths. Twelve arms wave around, six necks never stop twisting, Odysseus has no way of escaping and becomes exhausted, cupiens vitare, with Charybdis waiting on the other side.

Charybdis is bulimic: devours the sea and throws it back up. Her diet consists mainly of ships, fish and drowned bodies. Masts and rigging tend to give her the shits. Should she swallow Odysseus, she would fill up with thoughtfulness, nostalgia, long sailing, the hustle of Troy, meter and rhapsody. However, no rhapsody is inside her, as Odysseus made it off the plate.


It was back in the times when seraphs still cast their shadows on the earth. Sometimes there would be so many angels flying over Poznań that the sky was heavy with wings, glittering and pastel. Between the earth and the heaven, between nature and God, poets floated, on wings growing out of their wounds.

Penelope was wise, secretive, full of virtue, and longing for Sparta. Passionately she practised little tricks of faithfulness.

One needs light in one’s soul, to write with light, like God. Otherwise, one needs to take photographs. A woman of genuine faithfulness knows how to be wanton, but then pushes everything away. Waves of the sea and smiles of happiness, clouds and unicorns. She can keep the fire alive for long despite the distance from each other. And she does not enjoy good reputation. “Fides Graeca!” – people smile with a sneer when they see her flirt again with whoever. Only Homer himself knows the truth: all the canniness of the innocent.

It is her that cuts out from the world a little magical quadri and moves it into admiration, outside the world. In her heart she carries a black frame. Her life fits into a poem and she forgets him. With a fan of poetry she shoos the away incubi of loneliness. Inside her there is bright music, which passes without an echo.

To love with artistic love, remaining faithful, empowers beyond anything. One can love golden ridges of water and chameleon’s skin. One can love the world and beyond it. Faithfulness is a chest locked away but with a magical bottom. Perhaps that’s where the heaven is.

There is patient faithfulness of the skin and the long memory of touching. And there is faithfulness of many years passing.

So she charmed seraphs catching them into soaring prayers. And they let her tame them.

Her own heart was telling her: “normality is constituted by summing up madness”. Like Odysseus from Calypso, the pain returned, but she just smiled.

And so the ship patiently sailed, the wind grew attached to the mast of the ideal. Beauties and great virtues strolled the world incognito. Being the only ones with a horn, the unicorns purged waters poisoned by snakes. The world was no more than a letter woven from Odysseus and Penelope’s magnificent cloth. From God they came: the bundle and the letter.

For when between a woman and a man there is faithfulness, or even love, even when they are apart, they stretch a sparkling web over themselves. They catch the entire world in it and take it to God for correction. And so God corrects it, allowing saints’ cooperation, his saints of imagination – artists. God then shuts it all in Penelope’s chest, full of reason, light and clear colours.


The essence of every chest is its beautifully carved secrecy. In the tightly closed darkness old cloth rests.
On it - dusk full of lamias, there is a luminous sea and landscape. Plump winds blow in mappa mundi, Circe the sorceress was tending to grazing pigs. Poseidon thrusts his harpoon into the Old Market, into the heart of photography. On polytropic paths, from water death comes. Nausicaa carries a basket full of dirty underwear and her destiny. Leviathan sails through the sea, the night driving the dragons. Sirens are in Septuagint, once Persephone’s friends. And all the names of everything are in the language of gods and dreams.

There is the truth in this chest of darkness, and there is Veronica’s veil. The face not touched with a paintbrush, but with a gesture of mercy. Bright clear eyes of Santo Volto still shine in the dark. Paintings borrow light, harmony, placidity, sense from them.

The carved chest sits in an empty cubiculum, full of longing though. When Odysseus finally returns, God will take all the darkness out of him and make the night last longer for lovers.

Without the benefit of Kirke and Calypso's spells, Penelope wove the journey. Odysseus sailed very far, into the depth of the heart, full of faith. Too little faith and Kirke will turn him into swine. And that’s what will happen to many a monster, absit omen, and many a Cyclopes should the heart invite the darkness inside.