Maids are Sitting in the Circle, Hawk was Hanged | Liliana Piskorska

This is an exhibition for queer womanhood lesbianhood, for dykes, sapphics, WLWs, for
various thoughts about separatism and for anger love. I would like for all of this to stick to
your and remain stuck, and for us not to forget so soon again.

The Berry Maids led me to a clearing deep in the forest and told me all those impossible stories.
Made up stories, stories spun of thin air, bits of gossip, fibs, claptraps, chuckles of history.
These are some insinuations, facts presented in fake light, one should not wonder about it, and
it definitely impugns someone’s good name.

„In 1872 Narcyza Żmichowska wrote that in the times of the Enthusiasts, when forced marriage
was criticized, nobody thought about an alternative to marriage. Such an alternative could then
only lie in “corruption”, “and after all, we are not sanfedists or nihilists” (Żmichowska 1876).
However, for the criticism of marriage to be sufficiently deep and convincing, it needed to
achieve yet another dimension. What was needed was a positive alternative to marriage, the
possibility to think of – and to carry out – relationships that would be free from the
disadvantages of marriage. A free relationship between a woman and a man, not tied by
marriage, was one such alternative. (…) Another would lie in marriage free from – a man”.

Maria Konopnicka – Picking Blueberries: A Little Book of Forest

(…) They look – the maids sit in a circle (Bindweed twining over them).
Each in white dress, Each with red hat
Each has golden plaits, Each with needle-work in her hand
And works, dilligent, on the same thing, As their Madame Overseer.
The boys take a bow, Eyes to the left, noses to the right
As is proper for the honour of youth raised in the forest
And the eldest bravely says, “Let me introduce you,
This is our guest, little Janek, These – the five Berry Maids.”
And from one word to another, conversation started!
How the maids are orphaned in the care of their aunt,
Madame Berry; What news there are in the forest
Siskin quarrels with his wife, Hawk was hanged,
For he stole the thrushes’ young; Hoopoe does mischief
How the moon shines at night, with its golden ray
Turning the maids’ hair gold; How they bathe in drops of dew
How their green stockings are spun on pine needles
How ladybirds don’t know fashion, and keep wearing dotted dresses
How one’s named Basia, Second – Julka, the third – Kasia,
The fourth is Zosia, the fifth – Hania (…)


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