jueves, 5 de febrero de 2015

Poetry: Zbigniew Herbert - How We Were Introduced - I Would Like to Describe - Lament - Mr. Cogito and the Imagination - Links to more ZH



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How We Were Introduced

—for perfidious protectors

I was playing in the street
no one paid attention to me
as I made forms out of sand
mumbling Rimbaud under my breath

once an elderly gentleman overheard it
—little boy you are a poet
just now we are organizing
a grass-roots literary movement

he stroked my dirty head
gave me a large lollypop
and even bought clothes
in the protective coloring of youth

I didn’t have such a splendid suit
since first communion
short trousers and a wide
sailor’s collar

black patent leather shoes with a buckle
white knee-high socks
the elderly gentleman took me by the hand
and led the way to the ball

other boys were there
also in short trousers
carefully shaven
shuffling their feet

—well boys now it’s time to play
why are you standing in the corners
asked the elderly gentleman
—make a circle holding hands

but we didn’t want tag
or blindman’s buff
we had enough of the elderly gentleman
we were very hungry

so we were seated promptly
around a large table
given lemonade
and pieces of cake

now disguised as adults
with deep voices
the boys got up they praised us
or slapped us on our hands

we didn’t hear anything
didn’t feel anything
staring with great eyes
at the piece of cake
that kept melting
in our hot hands
and this sweet taste the first in our lives
disappeared inside our dark sleeves



I Would Like to Describe

I would like to describe the simplest emotion
joy or sadness
but not as others do
reaching for shafts of rain or sun

I would like to describe a light
which is being born in me
but I know it does not resemble
any star
for it is not so bright
not so pure
and is uncertain

I would like to describe courage
without dragging behind me a dusty lion
and also anxiety
without shaking a glass full of water

to put it another way
I would give all metaphors
in return for one word
drawn out of my breast like a rib
for one word
contained within the boundaries
of my skin

but apparently this is not possible

and just to say -- I love
I run around like mad
picking up handfuls of birds
and my tenderness
which after all is not made of water
asks the water for a face

and anger
different from fire
borrows from it
a loquacious tongue

so is blurred
so is blurred
in me
what white-haired gentleman
separated once and for all
and said
this in the subject
this is the object

we fall asleep
with one hand under our head
and with the other in a mound of planets

our feet abandon us
and taste the earth
with their tiny roots
which next morning
we tear out painfully 




In a City

In an eastern city where I won’t return
there is a winged stone light and huge
lightning strikes this winged stone
I close my eyes to remember
in my city where I won’t return
there is heavy and nourishing water
the one who gives you a cup of this water
gives you the faith you will still return
in my faraway city that has gone
from all maps of the world there is bread that can nourish
throughout life black as the faith you will see again
stone bread water and the presence of towers at dawn



Lament

To the memory of my mother

And now she has over her head brown clouds of roots
a slim lily of salt on the temples beads of sand
while she sails on the bottom of a boat through foaming nebulas

a mile beyond us where the river turns
visible-invisible as the light on a wave
truly she isn't different-abandoned like all of us



Mr. Cogito and the Imagination

Mr. Cogito never trusted
tricks of the imagination

the piano at the top of the Alps
played false concerts for him

he didn't appreciate labyrinths
the Sphinx filled him with loathing

he lived in a house with no basement
without mirrors of dialectics

jungles of tangled images
were not his home

he would rarely soar
on the wings of metaphor
and then he fell like Icarus
into the embrace of the Great Mother

he adored tautologies
explanations
idem per idem

that a bird is a bird
slavery means slavery
a knife is a knife
death remains death

he loved
the flat horizon
a straight line
the gravity of the earth

Zbigniew Herbert










Poetry: Zbigniew Herbert - How We Were Introduced - I Would Like to Describe - Lament - Mr. Cogito and the Imagination - Links to more ZH






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