Portrait of Kasimera
J takes me on a tour of the streets of Poznan, especially the district of Jezyce, saying - you must see this - and this - and -
Every building is different, every floreate façade, every slanting or curved railing, each bulging balcony, each sculpted figure of lion, owl, eagle. All more or less discernible, some cleaned and complete, some half erased and on the point of vanishing forever - and all straight out of a succession of fairy tales.
Then there's the old tram depot, with thick weeds growing among the tram tracks - and which is due for demolition. Just across from it is another magnificent building with grand wooden stairwell, worn wooden stairs which creak as you ascend, and stained glass windows. On the first floor is the former residence - and now a museum - of the Polish poet Kasimera Illakowiczowna whose portrait you see here. She studied in Krakow, Oxford and Fribourg, spoke and translated from several languages, survived two world wars, working as a nurse on the eastern front during WWI, in exile in Romania during WWII, was the first woman to hold a government post, and was one of the first Polish women to be a published poet in an age where there was still considerable prejudice against women writers.