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If you recollect to have seen a elderly man running alone along the Mourne Mountain paths,  you were also catching a whiff of  the workings of a poet’s mind, because Zdzislaw Malkinski does both: marathons and poetry. Zdzislaw has also taken part in the Newry Marathon.

Zdzislaw Malkinski came ashore on this Isle in 2005. The Celtic Tiger had chased him out of his native land when one of her powerful cubs made a successful bid for the third biggest bank in Poland BZ WBK and made it part of AIB.

Close to pension age, he did not want to wait for a redundancy package. Thus, in a pre-emptive move, he handed in his notice. He badly needed  a new identity and a new purpose in life. Fourteen years later he has certainly done that leaving an incredible footprint in Irish

Zdzislaw Malkinski, Poet, Druid and Marathon Runner.
Zdzislaw Malkinski, Poet and Marathon Runner.


In Ireland

even darkness is enticing

when I  run along

the muddy countryside pathways

W Irlandii

nawet ciemność

jest piękna

kiedy biegnę nocą

po wiejskich wertepach

Irlandzka noc  Wyspa II


Identity (Tożsamość)

You walk down

The street


It’s a cul-de-sac.

You see

The wall.

Strangely enough,

Only few will


To jump over it

Onto the other side

Into the world

Waiting wide open.

Like a migrant on a journey for bread

You look out for

A new identity

Which lies asleep

At the bottom of your soul

Not yet awoken.

But It Is There!

Take pride in its existence.


Czasami ślepą ulicą


I ścianę widzisz

Ale często

Przez mur skaczesz

I dalej w świat szeroki

Jak emigrant

Za kawałkiem chleba


Swojej tożsamości szukać


Gdzieś na dnie duszy ukryta

Jeszcze drzemie

Ale jest

Bądż dumny z niej!


Finding himself at the life crossroads at the age when most of us would dream of settling down in Puerto del Carmen, he had chosen an opposite direction, setting out to challenge the Roaring Tiger on his own terms.  Malkinski had never pretended that it was easy to leave his country. The day of his departure is depicted in one of his best poems - The Polish Tale

Zdzislaw Malkinski taking part in Newry Marathon.
Zdzislaw Malkinski taking part in Newry Marathon.

The Polish Tale

Nothing in particular happens

In this tale.

No action

As I am waiting on Platform Three

At Kostrzyn railway station

For a train

That terminates its journey

At the station “Emigration”

In no time

It will take me over

the Odra river

I’ll pass the border

Two hearts,

My daughter and her granny

Their eyes on the train

As it is leaving.

I do not know

What the future will bring along.

I’ve got a hundred Sterling,

And eagerness to work

But no English,

I do not know yet

That when I return

My daughter will be like her mother now:

She will graduate and speak languages.

Will she leave us too?

Opowiadanie o Polsce

W tym opowiadaniu

Nic sie nie dzieje

Brak akcji

Czekam na stacji

W Kostrzynie nad Odrą

Na pociąg do emigracji

Za chwilę przekroczę granicę

Na peronie

Dwa bliskie serca

Mała córka z babcią

Czekają, aż pociąg odjedzie

Nie wiem jak będzie!

Mam przy sobie sto funtów

Brak języka, lecz chęci do pracy

Nie wiem tego – gdy wrócę

Córka będzie jak matka

Jest po studiach, zna języki

Czy zostawi nas samych?


He travelled by train from Kostrzyn to Berlin, and then took a flight to Belfast. However, he was not drawn to the metropolitan glamour of this city that after years of conflict and bad publicity was desperately trying to catch up with all other vibrant and lively European centres.

So he soon moved out to the picturesque Ballynahinch, at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. Out there he found the tranquillity he dreamt of and a job free from the hustle of drumming up profit targets. In Ballynahinch, he had discovered his passion for poetry and marathons. He even joined Orangegrove AC Belfast and had been with them for many years. The time of his run in  Virgin London Marathon on the 24 April, 2016 was 3:59:05 made him one of the best Northern Irish marathon runners in his age group.

The process of training for marathons is a strenuous one: running in rain and shine for hours on end can also be monotonous.   As he told me: ”late afternoons and evenings, I wrote down on paper  what my mind and soul  created while my  body  negoiated the green hills of the Mourne Mountains”

Old Druid from Ballynahinch

I spent much time in

The wilderness


The winds raged at night

And the pale moon

Glanced from behind the clouds

I searched for the truth

Of the Universe;

I, an old Druid,

from Ballynahinch

Druid z Ballynahinch

Wiele czasu

Spędziłem w głuszy

Gdy wichry

Szalały nocą

A księżyc blady

Wyglądał zza chmur

Szukałem prawdy

O kosmosie

Ja stary druid

Z Ballynahinch


Malkiński has published two volumes of Irish poems in his native Poland under the titles: Wyspa I and Wyspa II. Both contain poems which for the Polish reader are like a breeze of fresh air from the Irish Sea: crispy, invigorating and challenging like Irish weather. For him, the life project called ‘migration’ was fulfilling, for others - acting on his advice - will be worth trying.....

Recommendation (Rada)

It can be done.

I kid you not.

It only takes

Topping up

Your pension with

The one

Earned abroad

It takes time:

Not too long

Proportionally - a moment,

A mere 10 years.

The recipe is simple,

Easy to follow:

Change a country,

Start a new life.

So downright easy,

Nothing extraordinary.

What's been left to decide

Is whether you want to do it,

Or whether you dare not.


To się zdarza

To nie żart

Emeryturę sklonuj swą

Troche to trwa

Lecz trwa niedługo

Proporcjonalnie krótko

Dziesięć lat

Przepis to jest prost, oczywisty

Wystarczy tylko

Zmienić kraj

I zacząc od nowa

Prosta recepta –niby nic

Musisz tylko chcieć

I móc

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