Try to Praise the Mutilated World
by Adam Zagajewski
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
What gets to me is the evocative nature of what’s abandoned, damaged, dying, ruined, scarred, mutilated. People and animals, of course, and trees, landscapes, natural communities, habitats, places, homes. Places overgrown, or, on the other hand, empty, devoid, or both. Times when places seem abandoned, shadows among barrenness, unmitigated dispassionate glare of light flattening all contour. The exiles of any sort, the earth’s scars, the wounds. Decay.
“Someone walking down the street with absolutely no scars or calluses would look pretty odd. I suspect having a conversation with someone who’d never taken any emotional or mental damage would be even odder. The line between ‘experience’ and ‘damage’ is pretty thin.” — Aliza, from the Open-Source Wish Project via LessWrong
“The line between ‘experience’ and ‘damage’ is pretty thin.”
Is there any line at all?
Thanks for checking in. Be sure to see what the other 31 Dayers are writing about.
This project is a bit like Wallace Stevens’ poemThirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird, in that I’m writing about a sense of place from vantage points that may not obviously connect with each other. I’m not going to attempt to tie them together. In the end, these 31 days of looking at a sense of place may overlap, contradict, form a whole, or collapse like a flan in a cupboard, as Eddie Izzard would say. That remains to be seen. Thanks for stopping by.