Thanks, Becca, for sharing a link to this blog. I loved the most recent post & was happy to be reminded of this poem by Adam Zagajewski. I remember reading it in the issue of The New Yorker published immediately following the events of 9/11.
When I read the poem then, I keenly remember feeling both hopeful & saddened. As someone prone to idealism, at times naive idealism, accepting the world as is seemed difficult, even irresponsible. The repetition of the phrase “mutilated world” struck me as relentless, & I couldn’t reconcile the darkness of the phrase with the hopefulness of some lines in the poem. Reading the poem now, 9 years later, was an entirely different experience, however. Maybe that’s what happens with age. Not everything seems like a contradiction, and dialectics no longer make me uncomfortable. Wonderful moments can exist in terrible times; within a mutilated world, moments of unity & peace can occur.
It seems apt to read this poem in light of the situation in Haiti. I hate to proselytize, but after watching President Clinton’s analysis of the challenges that face Haiti, I think it’s important to mention again. What ways are you helping? Do you have any suggestions for me or for charities I can mention on here? xo, m
Try To Praise The Mutilated World
By Adam Zagajewski (Translated from Polish by Claire Cavanagh)
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 grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes