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John- December 2005 668

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.


“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by Adam Zagajewski, whose family fled from their home in Lvov, Poland in 1945, and who now divides his time between Paris and Houston, where he teaches in the creative writing program at U of H.

The photo: taken in the Bayou Bend gardens, Houston.

HANDOUT  zagajewski1.jpg