Submerged City

Translated by Clare Cavanagh
That city will be no more, no halos   
of spring mornings when green hills   
tremble in the midst and rise   
like barrage balloons—   

and May won’t cross its streets   
with shrieking birds and summer’s promises.   
No breathless spells,   
no chilly ecstasies of spring water.   

Church towers rest on the ocean’s floor,   
and flawless views of leafy avenues   
fix no one’s eyes.   

And still we live on calmly,   
humbly—from suitcases,   
in waiting rooms, on airplanes, trains,   

and still, stubbornly, blindly, we seek the image,   
the final form of things   
between inexplicable fits   
of mute despair—   

as if vaguely remembering   
something that cannot be recalled,   
as if that submerged city were traveling with us,   
always asking questions,   

and always unhappy with our answers—   
exacting, and perfect in its way.

More Poems by Adam Zagajewski