Poetry Praise

I thought this poem especially poignant given the wars
upon us, upon our environment—a reminder to hold memories
and experience close to us, to remember what is beautiful
and remains even amid what is lost, devastated, demolished.

Adam Zagajewski
(June 21, 1945 to March 21, 2021)

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

by 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.

Tell me about your interests.