Georgia Borys Romanowski — paintings of Georgia Borys Romanowski — paintings of Georgia

Paintings of Georgia by
Borys Romanowski, 1925-1947

So I take that little book, however so important for me in those days, and I come to my mother. And I give it to her in silence, and she, surprised by unknown author name, she raises her black eyes on my, those eyes that carry so many questions.

“What is this?”, she asks with apparent reluctant aversion.

“This is great story about Georgia!”, I almost shout, as if rising my voice could add more assurance to my words. “I beg you, read this, we'd talk later, I beg you, you won't waste your time…”

Without a single word she returns to her room. And I wait for her with utmost excitement. I'm absolutely sure, that wonderful Kapuściński will open some mysterious gate and Natalia will start talking. Long time passes, but I still wait for that moment, when we'd start a journey together through those giant mountains to that house full of people, horses, full of live voices and chants…

I have no idea about time passed, my thoughts hoover some place else. And suddenly I see her thoughtful face and from the distance her voice like a melody come to me:

“This is a beautiful story. Do you know that reporter? I can feel he spent a short time there, but surprisingly he discovered so many details. I can instantly see a ray of light that during millenia that country shines with; a light that is hold by every man and woman livine there. This is wise and vulnerable author. I'm sure he will write important books some day”.

The silence spreads all over. I know, that these few pages moved her deeply and certainly, now must come that moment I am waiting for months. And indeed, that moment comes.

First hours of our talks passed on Georgia and on everything that she saw thanks to Simon Tchikovani and other friends in Moscow, and then in Tbilisi[1] and Borjomi[2]. That past time was still living inside her; it was so fresh, that upon a single pretense it erupted as if a spring. I don't want to say, that these few pages of Ryszard Kapuściński were the single pretense. Not at all. I know very well, that thanks to that text, moved by the accuracy of his conclusions, fascinated by the way he was writing, Natalia decided to tell me not only about her native country, but as well about her father with whom she spent so little time; about all these traces she found there so far away from Poland. But in the end — and it was most important to me — she decided to talk about her life, about Konstanty, about days filled with happiness and as well, dark days, full of gloom; in other words — she decided to pass on to me all these things I was barely aware of and I wanted them so much. Not through the poems I knew so well, but as a subject of them, a living person, a woman loved so much by my father. For me, Georgia was a subject of secondary importance. Natalia, she was the most important to me, especially from the time when she changed her name from Avałov to Gałczyńska.

How terribly naive I was!

Until the time I went to Geaorgia by myself, when I found traces of my grandparents, when I followed them and I was able to put them all together with stories heard from my mother that frosty Winter of 69, when I experienced the utmost emotion by the Mtkvari river, then finally I begun to understand how really important was Georgia in that story. This was the central point to build all the narration upon. Without it Natalia never would be herself.

“This is just like you have owned the whole mountains, as if you were, while standing on the highest peak, thinking that everything belongs to you — other clouded peaks, valleys, rocks, goats jumping there, eternal snows! This sounds like a fairy-tale, however some time ago it wasn't”, very serious, low and calm voice sounded somehow unreal. Did she speak to me or to herself? Where that change came from?

Just month ago, just yesterday, she was silent when I asked her to speak. She didn't want to go back to those years that gone forever as if she wanted to keep them only for herself. On the other hand she prepared me to that moment for my whole life. Now, when I'm trying to find proper words to tell the story about my uncommon mother, I understand that completely.

And yet another recollected experience of that unreal time, that was only an introduction then to lenghty stories of Natalia, which all begun from Georgia. “Since I came there, to Tbilisi, I understood why that capital city of my ancestors' country fascinated european artists from the beginning of the 20th century so much. They had reasons to call it Paris of the East. However, although all such comparisons were trendy at that time, they really meant something. Death of Dagny Przybyszewska[3], a muse of the artists' circles, tells the story. She escaped from Poland and went to Tbilisi when her beloved Stach[4] left her for Jadwiga Kasprowicz. She tried to find a forgetfulness in the arms of many men, among them was unknown then, medicine student, Tadeusz Żeleński[5]. She was still a nordic sphinks for me. To find a forgetfulness, she escaped from Cracow to Tbilisi with Władysław Emeryk, a student that was in love in her, who shot her in the small, cheap hotel. And then killed himself. Beautiful Dagny was 32 years old…”

[KIRA GAŁCZYŃSKA, Srebrna Natalia]

  1. Tbilisi, Wikipedia source.
  2. Borjomi, Wikipedia source.
  3. Dagny Przybyszewska, Wikipedia source.
  4. Stanisław Przybyszewski, Wikipedia source.
  5. Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, Wikipedia source.