Economy by Maria Stadnicka

(for Timothy Snyder)


At first, we reduced the water supply.

The poisoned city wells dried up.

The light burnt the crops.


At sunset, everything crumbled into a black peace.


Then somehow we got used to an economy of words.

We collected ideas and thoughts in one book.

We spent the days memorising chapters.


For those trapped in the outer world,

for the privilege of staying alive.


Mozart in Nairobi by Maria Stadnicka

The citizenship lesson, on Wednesdays afternoon,

ends at three o’clock

with a Mozart concerto, live broadcast

from our detention centre.


The outer heavy traffic,

the rain washing the roof tops across Nairobi

penetrate the walls –

a sharp, urgent, high-pitched cry.


The ants come to light, across the border,

through a crack in the wood.

Perfect day for unattended prayers.


In Other Words, Freedom by Maria Stadnicka

The fatal morning Europe woke up and thought it had something to say,

there was nobody else left in the world able to listen.

Oh, earth, the bones had gathered to queue for bread,

by the front door at Saint Joseph seminary.


An ordinary day for ordinary death.

The bakery opened and closed.

The workers arrived on time for a last shift then went home.

The ovens had no traces of grain.


The ink stained hope filled up rusty water pipes.

The crowds’ whisper went on, up the hill, out of the city.


After that, freedom meant nothing.

It all came down to

who could hold the front running place the longest.



Maria Stadnicka is a writer, freelance journalist and lecturer.  She started writing at the age of seven and published her first poems in 1995.

Between 1996 and 2003 Maria lived in Iasi and Botosani, Romania and won 12 Romanian national prizes for poetry, as well as Porni Luceafarul… – First Prize for poetry collection and Convorbiri Literare publishing house, T. Arghezi – First  Prize for poetry and V. Alecsandri – First Prize for poetry.

She worked as a radio and TV broadcaster, presenter and editor in chief for Radio North-East, TV Europa Nova and Radio Hit and was a member of the literary group Club 8, Romania.

In 2003, Maria moved to England and in 2010 she became member of the Stroud Writers Group, Gloucestershire. She read poetry in London, Bristol, Cheltenham and Stroud. Maria is a freelance journalist and works as a lecturer at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, England.

Maria Stadnicka published poetry in:
Wienzeile (Vienna, Austria);
Cronica, Poesis, Hyperion, LiterNet, Convorbiri literare (Iasi, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Suceava, Botosani – Romania);
Contrafort and Discobolul (Chisinau, Republic of Moldova);

Gracious Light and The Clouds (New York, USA);
International Times (London, UK).

Books and pamphlets:

O-Zone Friendly poetry anthology (Iasi, Romania ISBN – 973-99824-7-6, 2002);
Pamphlet 15Change and Permanence (Stroud, England, 2012);
Pamphlet 15Trust and Betrayal (Stroud, England, 2014);
– A Short Story About War, poetry (Yew Tree Press, England, 2014 ISBN 978-0-9562038-4-7);
Stroud Poets pamphlet, poetry anthology (Yew Tree Press, England, 2016 ISBN – 978-0-9956603-0-4);
Imperfect, poetry (Yew Tree Press, England and Two Wood Press, England, 2017 – 978-0-9562038-5-4).