‘SELF PORTRAIT’ : A POEM BY ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI !

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“Self-Portrait”

Between the computer, a pencil,
and a typewriter
half my day passes. One day it
will be half a century.
I live in strange cities and
sometimes talk
with strangers about matters
strange to me.
I listen to music a lot: Bach,
Mahler, Chopin, Shostakovich.
I see three elements in music:
weakness, power, and pain.
The fourth has no name.
I read poets, living and dead,
who teach me
tenacity, faith, and pride. I try to
understand
the great philosophers–but
usually catch just
scraps of their precious
thoughts.
I like to take long walks on Paris
streets
and watch my fellow creatures,
quickened by envy,
anger, desire; to trace a silver
coin
passing from hand to hand as it
slowly
loses its round shape (the
emperor’s profile is erased).
Beside me trees expressing
nothing
but a green, indifferent
perfection.
Black birds pace the fields,
waiting patiently like Spanish
widows.
I’m no longer young, but
someone else is always older.
I like deep sleep, when I cease
to exist,
and fast bike rides on country
roads when poplars and houses
dissolve like cumuli on sunny
days.
Sometimes in museums the
paintings speak to me
and irony suddenly vanishes.
I love gazing at my wife’s face.
Every Sunday I call my father.
Every other week I meet with
friends,
thus proving my fidelity.
My country freed itself from one
evil. I wish
another liberation would follow.
Could I help in this? I don’t
know.
I’m truly not a child of the
ocean,
as Antonio Machado wrote
about himself,
but a child of air, mint and cello
and not all the ways of the high
world
cross paths with the life that–so
far–
belongs to me.

ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI.
(Translated by Clare Cavanagh.)

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MRITYUNJAY JHA
4F,ADARSH NAGAR
SAMASTIPUR
BIHAR
INDIA.
Postal Code: 848101.
(+91) 9334411390.
http://facebook.com/MJ1982M
http://twitter.com/MJ1982M

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