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.

Adam Zagajewski (born 21 June 1945 in Lwów (now Lviv), Ukraine) is a Polish poet, novelist, translator and essayist. In 1982 he emigrated to Paris, but in 2002 he returned to Poland, and resides in Kraków. His poem "Try To Praise The Mutilated World", printed in The New Yorker, became famous after the 11 September attacks. He is currently a faculty member at the University of Chicago and a member of its Committee on Social Thought. He was awarded the Bronze Cross of Merit, and twice received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. In 1992, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship.