Try to Praise the Mutilated Worldwas published in The New Yorker after the 2001 September 11 attacks.
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Try to Praise the Mutiltated World: Adam Zagajewski
"Don't allow the lucid moment to dissolve
On a hard dry substance
you have to engrave the truth"
Try to Praise the Mutilated World
Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
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 going 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
Adam Zagajewski, "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" from Without End: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 Adam Zagajewski.
Adam Zagajewski (b 1946) is a Polish poet, essayist and novelist.
Zagajewski was born in a part of Poland that was incorporated into the Soviet Union after WW2 and his family was forcibly repatriated to Poland. His first book of poetry was published in Poland in 1972. His work sought to resist and expose communist propaganda and he was a major figure on the Polish Solidarity movement. He wrote poems attacking the imposition of martial law in Poland.
In 1982 he left Poland to live in Paris, but returned to Poland in 2002.
He became better known after a translation of the poem