Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Poetry: Adam Zagajewski

I first encountered this poem in The New Yorker's first issue after September 11. (2001.) The plan was to save it for the fifth anniversary of that event, but I'm feeling much more in need of it right now, and I would like to put it forward once more into the world.

Adam Zagajewski (tr. Clare Cavanaugh)
Try to Praise the Mutilated World

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships:
one of them had a long journey ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees heading nowhere;
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn,
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world,
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.


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