Saturday, November 24, 2007

Zbigniew Herbert


Two perhaps three

I was sure
I would touch the essence
and would know

the web of my formula
made of allusions as in the Phaedo
had also the rigour
of Heisenberg’s equation

I was sitting immobile
with watery eyes
I felt my backbone
fill with quiet certitude

earth stood still
heaven stood still
my immobility
was nearly perfect

the postman rang
I had to pour out the dirty water
prepare tea

Siva lifted his finger
the furniture of heaven and earth
started to spin again

I returned to my room
where is that perfect peace
the idea of a glass
was being spilled all over the table

I sat down immobile
with watery eyes
filled with emptiness
i.e. desire

If it happens to me once more
I shall be moved neither by the postman’s bell
nor by the shouting of angels

I shall sit
my eyes fixed
upon the heart of things

a dead star

a black drop of infinity

Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz & Peter Dale Scott

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