Thursday, September 11, 2014

Adam Zagajewski: "Try to Praise the Mutilated World"

                                Try to praise the mutilated world.
                                Remember June’s long days,
                                and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
                                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 trip 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 the 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.

"Try to Praise the Mutilated World" by Adam Zagajewski. Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanaugh. Written more than a year before the terrible events of 9/11. Published in The New Yorker, September 24, 2001. 

Photography credit: Photograph from a series entitled "Photos: America commemorates 11th anniversary of 9/11 attacks" (8 of 14), by AP/Jason DeCrow (originally color). Caption: "Roses and a flag left by mourners adorn the names of victims of 9/11 during a ceremony marking the 11th anniversary of the attacks at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in New York."


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