Impossible Friendships

By Adam Zagajewski b. 1945 Adam Zagajewski
For example, with someone who no longer is,
who exists only in yellowed letters.

Or long walks beside a stream,
whose depths hold hidden

porcelain cups—and the talks about philosophy
with a timid student or the postman.

A passerby with proud eyes
whom you'll never know.

Friendship with this world, ever more perfect
(if not for the salty smell of blood).

The old man sipping coffee
in St.-Lazare, who reminds you of someone.

Faces flashing by
in local trains—

the happy faces of travelers headed perhaps
for a splendid ball, or a beheading.

And friendship with yourself
—since after all you don't know who you are.

Adam Zagajewski, "Impossible Friendships" from Eternal Enemies. Copyright © 2008 by Adam Zagajewski. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

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Source: Eternal Enemies (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)

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Poet Adam Zagajewski b. 1945

POET’S REGION Poland

Subjects Living, The Mind, Relationships, Friends & Enemies

Poetic Terms Couplet

 Adam  Zagajewski

Biography

Adam Zagajewski was born in Lvov, Poland, in 1945; as an infant he was relocated with his family to western Poland. He lived in Berlin for a couple of years, moved to France in 1982, and has taught at universities in the United States, including the University of Houston and the University of Chicago. Zagajewski writes in Polish; many of his books of poetry and essays have been translated into English.

Zagajewski was considered . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Relationships, Friends & Enemies

POET’S REGION Poland

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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