Try to Praise the Mutilated World

By Adam Zagajewski b. 1945 Adam Zagajewski

Translated By Clare Cavanagh

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
and returns.


Adam Zagajewski, "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" from Without End: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Adam Zagajewski. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

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Source: Without End: New and Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002)

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Poet Adam Zagajewski b. 1945

POET’S REGION Poland

Subjects Nature, Fall, Landscapes & Pastorals, Summer

Holidays September 11th

Poetic Terms Refrain

 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.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Fall, Landscapes & Pastorals, Summer

POET’S REGION Poland

Poetic Terms Refrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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