Demand It Courageously by Julia Hartwig
MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM
She’s a marvel, my love is, is how a letter ends. This is how a stranger tells me about lives unfurling, and of which I have no part of but am a witness to all the same.
I think it is incredibly brave and endearing, making room for wonderment.
It was difficult to get up today. It took hours. What are you if not some wounded animal, I think.
But to be thankful nevertheless. To be grateful for things that arrange themselves into your life precisely because there is room.
I have been, at some point, been astonished by someone’s being. I wonder now if anyone, at some point, has been amazed that I exist.
But shouldn’t that have been: what a marvel that I exist!
It is exactly what you think it is, I whisper to myself, birds fluttering about inside my chest.
Demand It Courageously
Translated by John and Bogdana Carpenter
Make some room for yourself, human animal.
Even a dog jostles about on his master’s lap to
improve his position. And when he needs space he
runs forward, without paying attention to commands
If you didn’t manage to receive freedom as a gift,
demand it as courageously as bread and meat.
Make some room for yourself, human pride and
The Czech writer Hrabal said:
I have as much freedom as I take.
[expand title=”Endnotes” tag=”h6″ expanded=”true”]
This poem appeared in In Praise of the Unfinished by Julia Hartwig, published by Knopf, 2008. Shared here with profound gratitude.
[expand title=”Dear Reader” tag=”h6″]
This little corner of the world is my passion project since 2005. My commitment is that it will always remain free to all. If this place holds meaning for you, would you consider supporting it? This can be in the form of a cup of coffee (+ other ways).
Note that Read A Little Poetry may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through any links on this site. It is at no additional cost to you and helps in the upkeep of this space.
Thank you for being here all these years—and into the future—as I hold poets to the light.