rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,


A little bit of rain has fallen— enough to make the dry grass fragrant, and to trickle through the downspouts with an agreeable noise. The feral cats have taken refuge on the porch, and seem content for now to merely watch the damp evening grow dim. A crow flies above, cawing, but the other birds have fallen silent. The cicadas, too, are subdued, though perhaps they are only waiting for full darkness to begin their buzzing. With the window open, I can hear the occasional showers that beat on the mulberry leaves. It is a restful whisper that might lull me to sleep, but the sun is just setting and turning the overcast sky gold. I must remain awake. There are things to be done, and I do not wish to nap now and wake at midnight. So tempting, though, to just close my eyes and listen to that whisper.

Sunday Verse

Long Afternoons

by Adam Zagajewski

Those were the long afternoons when poetry left me.
The river flowed patiently, nudging lazy boats to sea.
Long afternoons, the coast of ivory.
Shadows lounged in the streets, haughty manikins in shopfronts
stared at me with bold and hostile eyes.

Professors left their schools with vacant faces,
as if the Iliad had finally done them in.
Evening papers brought disturbing news,
but nothing happened, no one hurried.
There was no one in the windows, you weren't there;
even nuns seemed ashamed of their lives.

Those were the long afternoons when poetry vanished
and I was left with the city's opaque demon,
like a poor traveler stranded outside the Gare du Nord
with his bulging suitcase wrapped in twine
and September's black rain falling.

Oh, tell me how to cure myself of irony, the gaze
that sees but doesn't penetrate; tell me how to cure myself
of silence.

translated by Clare Cavanagh

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