Poem of the Week: “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” by Adam Zagajewski

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Center for Poetry intern Estee Schlenner selected this week’s poem, and said this:

I chose this poem because I really appreciate the message that Adam Zagajewski is sending. In this poem he is expressing that the world is “mutilated”, damaged in some way, but that we should still appreciate the beautiful memories that it gives us too. Even if there are bad events happening in the world, this poem reminds us to remember the good that it brings too. The beauty of strawberries, acorns in autumn, or gentle light, these redeeming qualities that encourage optimism in a sometimes pessimistic world.


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 wine, the dew.

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 heading 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 grey feather a thrush lost,

and the gentle light that strays and vanishes

and returns.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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