Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Zbigniew Herbert: "The Pebble"

The pebble
is a perfect creature

equal to itself
mindful of its limits

filled exactly
with a pebbly meaning

with a scent which does not remind one of anything
does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire

its ardour and coldness
are just and full of dignity

I feel a heavy remorse
when I hold it in my hand
and its noble body
is permeated by a false warmth

—Pebbles cannot be tamed
to the end they will look at us
with a calm and very clear eye

"The Pebble" by Zbigniew Herbert. Text as published in Postwar Polish Poetry: New Expanded Edition, edited by Czeslaw Milosz (University of California Press, 1983). Translated from the original Polish by Peter Dale Scott and Czeslaw Milosz.

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer.

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