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Tadeusz Różewicz in The Giant Mountains

For many years, Tadeusz Różewicz has been connected with The Giant Mountains, the highest and, at the same time, the most popular mountain range in the Sudety Mountains. The beginning of the relationship between the poet and Karpacz – a small, mountain place located at the foot of the Sniezka Peak, goes back to 1990s. Then, as a guest of Karpacz town, he stayed there and met local authorities for the first time. The main purpose of his visit was a meeting with Henryk Tomaszewski, a founder of the Wroclaw Theatre of Mime Show, who lived in Karpacz permanently.

Those meetings bore fruit later with a beautiful poem
“Staying with Henryk Tomaszewski in the Toys Museum”.
Two old artists – an actor and a poet-
met each other at the end of the century
and they are talking about toys
and keep silent about a man

This great creator of the Polish culture was friends with Henryk Tomaszewski and thought highly about his artistic achievements. The poet said:
-We do not know each other for a long time, however well. From many years, we have been thinking about cooperation. Unfortunately, we could not meet because of other duties.

Once, after sightseeing of the Sports and Tourism Museum in Karpacz, Tadeusz Różewicz was asked to write down his inscription in an honour memory book. When he was looking through, he found an inscription of a great Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz. In 1979, the Sports and Tourism Museum of Karkonosze region organised a contemporary exhibition entitled: ”Polish woman on the peak of the world” that summarized the activity of the most outstanding Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz. On 18th October 1978, she became the first Western and the third woman to reach the top of Mount Everest 8.848 m.
The following inscription is a great memento after the exhibition:
”Thank you for nice honouring
of reaching the top of Mount Everest by me
by the exhibition that has been prepared
so great by the Sports and Tourism Museum”
Wanda Rutkiewicz
This inscription became an inspiration for the poet to write a beautiful poem entitled: “The tale about late love”. He wrote:

at the street leading to
the Sports and Tourism Museum
in Karpacz
I found a trace of Wanda
her footprint
her handprint
her smile print


The poet himself during the meeting on 5th September 1997 in the amphitheatre near the Sports and Tourism Museum in Karpacz said:
- I was interested in rocks, plants and history. I found Wanda’s Rutkiewicz inscription and her photograph. The poem consists of some elements: a landscape, an environment and of course my attitude to this place. She came there only once, if I remember well. Because of her death, she became some kind of myth. In a sense, she was entranced. I must say that although she lived and went to school in Wroclaw, I did not meet her for a long time personally. I was really fascinated by her. She was for me, as a man from pains, an unusual person. She was an enigmatic, great person although people claim that she was an ordinary one. I included also an impersonal thread, because as I said, I did not know her and I implemented her in this landscape after her death. In any case, it was a complicated operation, because a poem is entitled “The tale about late love”. It is not a late love connected with Wanda Rutkiewicz but love to the Giant Mountains, to landscapes and plants.
Wanda Rutkiewicz is in the background however he is actually a main heroine of this poem.
This is amazing, that Tadeusz Różewicz was really fascinated by The Giant Mountains. At the introduction of the following poem he wrote:

I am
75 years old
and dead spit
I have fallen in love with the Giant Mountains
Which are
About 450 million years old.
I have fallen in love with the Great Mountains.


At the solemn session of the Council in Karpacz, on 5th September 1997, he received a diploma and a medal ”The person of merit to Karpacz”. The poet then said:
- I realize that, my love to Karpacz and the Giant Mountains or neighbourhood is has come a little late. I am an experienced man and I know that not everybody in Karpacz loves me.
Do they really have to? That’s the question. Some of them maybe do not realize that I exist and I write. It is fully understandable. I have been talking to the president and the mayer many times about my move to Karpacz. There were intentions. Then I thought that days and nights before wedding are better and more sweet that when people are married. Moving from one place to another when a man is getting old is not easy. As people say: “do not transplant old trees”. I think that the guest is nicer and better treated than a man who comes for ever and inconveniences the host. For example, a hole in the roof, repairing of a gutter. So I think that our liking will be nicer and hotter if we do not get married. We will live in the informal relationship.
I would like to give the president a gift, a small gift. It is just my last poem “The tale about late love” which applies to Karpacz and my visit to the Sports and Tourism Museum in Karpacz, where in an honour memory book I found an inscription by Wanda Rutkiewicz.

I would like to leave this poem in your town and I do hope it will find home here. I believe that the poem needs home. The poetry needs to have a place to live, just like a man.

“The tale about late love” was published for the first time in a monthly magazine “Slask” and in a biography publication in December 1997, as a joint effort of friends of Karpacz. There were three hundred numbered copies with the author’s autograph and finally the publication was incorporated in the volume of poems entitled “ always a part, recycling” published by the Lower Silesia publishing house”.

The poet’s love to the Giant Mountains was surprising for the chairman of the National Library Council, who invited the poet for the poem’s presentation do the National Library in Warsaw. It was strange, because before Tadeusz Różewicz was not interested in the mountains. When he was asked to write an introduction do the anthology of the Polish poems about mountains, he refused saying that he is not a fan of them.

At that time a humoresque was created “ A strange and unreal story about the meeting with Ruebezahl, that is Jan Liczyrzepa in Karpacz”, which was read by the author during a solemn session of the Town Council. The inspiration was an authentic museum exhibit – a calf of two heads which was presented in the museum in the part dedicated to “The environment in the Giant Mountains”.

(...)We were tired and sat down next to the Sports and Tourism Museum, were I interviewed a calf of two heads. Each head was saying something different and I could not understand anything. It is possible that one head was speaking Polish and another German. One head was saying that it is great to live in Karpacz whereas another said it was not true…one head glorified management of Zbigniew and Józef whereas the second complained about it. When I asked them if I should live in Karpacz, the first head said that yes and that is very important for Karpacz whereas another said that I have already enough troubles. After that vivid conversation with two, I asked to be carried to the mountain refuge Samotnia (…).

Since 1996 Tadeusz Różewicz has been coming to Karpacz regularly. He is not a fan of interviews and he avoids journalists. It happened that during the following visits he asked for discretion and not promoting his presence to make him feel comfortable.
At the beginning of 2001, the idea of organizing an exhibition in the museum in Karpacz of photographs presenting the artist’s visits appeared. The exhibition was entitled “Tadeusz Różewicz – the poet and playwright in the Giant Mountains” and was opened to celebrate 80 birthday of the poet. During his visits, Tadeusz Różewicz reached the Sniezka peak and also he walked the Chojnik Castle. In addition, he was sightseeing many places and monuments in the Jelenia Gora valley. He went for a walk many times in the park in the Cieplice Spa. He saw one of few monuments from Medieval Ages – a gallows made of stone on the Straconka slope located close to Karpacz as well as palaces and park in the Jelenia Gora valley.
Journalists and photographers know well that Tadeusz Różewicz does not like to be photographed. It is very rare, that it is his own initiative. One of the examples is a series of pictures that presents a master in the Karpaty second-hand bookshop. The truth is, no exhibition could be open without great help of Mrs Wiesława Różewicz. She made “the treasure of Rózewicz” that was hidden in the sofa in Wroclaw available. So the exhibition does not present only pictures but all most valuable objects connected with Tadeusz Różewicz that were not presented before. Among others: diplomas of honoris caus of Polish universities: Wrocław, Opole, Katowice, Kraków, Warszawa, three ennoblements to the Nike prize (1998, 1999, 2000) and the Nike prize from 2000 with the “Silver pen and ink” – the prize from reads. In addition, there are also plenty of decorations and honourable mentions like Krzyż Wielki Orderu Odrodzenia Polski „Polonia Restituta” – the best honourable mention in Poland and finally the prize of weekly magazine „Nowiny Jeleniogórskie” – ”The Mountain Glass” for the Master Tadeusz Różewicz - February 1998.
The visits of Tadeusz Różewicz were a creative inspiration for other artists. Teresa Kępowicz painted an oil painting entitle: “To the tale about late love”. Leszek Legut prepared a print: Tadeusz Różewicz at the background of Śnieżka peak.
At the exhibition in Karpacz, there were a lot of objects connected with the great artist. There was a diploma and the medal ”The person of merit to Karpacz”, a diploma “Honourable inhabitant of Radomsko”, where he was born, a diploma “Honourable inhabitant of Gliwice”, where he lived for many years and finally a diploma “Honourable inhabitant of Wroclaw”, where he now lives. In the showcases, there are publications connected with the authors activity in many foreign languages and letters that were read during giving of the honoris caus prizes.
During the opening of that exhibition the poet said:
- I know the neighbourhood of Karpacz from my short walks. With time, a man is limping a little. So it is easier to walk on the plains or even in the valleys but in the mountains it is more difficult. I very often visit the Sports and Tourism Museum in Karpacz, so often as the National Museum in Wroclaw. I feel very well with you. I have not moved there, as I said some time ago to the Town Council, where I met Mr Kulik