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Posts tagged "Adam Zagajewski"


A Talk with Friedrich Nietzsche – Adam Zagajewski

Most highly respected Professor Nietzsche,
sometimes I seem to see you
on a sanatorium terrace at dawn
with fog descending and song bursting
the throats of the birds.

Not tall, head like a bullet,
you compose a new book
and a strange energy hovers around you.
Your thoughts parade
like enormous armies.

You know now that Anne Frank died,
and her classmates and friends, boys, girls,
and friends of her friends, and cousins
and friends of her cousins.

What are words, I want to ask you, what
is clarity and why do words keep burning
a century later, though the earth
weighs so much?

Clearly nothing links enlightenment
and the dark pain of cruelty.
At least two kingdoms exist,
if not more.

But if there’s no God and no force
welds elements in repulsion,
then what are words really, and from whence
does their inner light come?

And from where does joy come, and where
does nothingness go? Where is forgiveness?
Why do the incidental dreams vanish at dawn and the
great ones keep growing?

(Translated by Renata Gorczynski)

December – Adam Zagajewski

December, herald of destruction,
takes you on a long walk
through the black torso of trees
and leaves scorched by the autumn’s fire,

as if saying: see what’s left
of your secrets, your treasures,
the febrile trill of little birds,
the promises of summer months.

Your dreams have been dissected,
the blackbirds’ song now has a rationale,
plants’ corpses adorn the herbariums.
Only the laboratory’s hard nut remains.

Don’t listen: they may take everything,
but they can’t have your ignorance,
they’ll leave your mysteries, won’t uncover
your third homeland.

Don’t listen, the holidays approach,
and frozen January, snow’s white paper.
What you await is just now being born.
The one you’re seeking will begin to sing.

Good Friday in the Tunnels of the Metro – Adam Zagajewski

Jews of various religions meet
in the tunnels of the Métro, rosary beads
spilled from someone’s tender fingers.

Above them priests sleep after their Lenten supper,
above them the pyramids of synagogues and churches
stands like the rocks a glacier left behind.

I listened to the St. Matthew Passion,
which transforms pain into beauty.
I read Death Fugue by Celan
transforming pain into beauty.

In the tunnels of the Métro no transformation of pain,
it is there, it persists and is keen.