Try to Praise the Mutilated World by Adam Zagajewski
I remember how this poem was passed around from person to person during 9/11. It was profoundly moving and apt (it still is), and I remember how thankful I was that poetry exists (I still am).
Try to Praise the Mutilated World
Translated by Clare Cavanagh
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 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 gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
This is from Without End: New and Selected Poems by Adam Zagajewski, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.