Zbigniew Herbert

Zbigniew Herbert

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Zbigniew Herbert (29 October 1924 – 28 July 1998) was a Polish poet, essayist, drama writer and moralist. He is one of the best known and the most translated post-war Polish writers.
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Three Poems By Heart

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II can't find the titleof a memory about youwith a hand torn from darknessI step on fragments of facessoft friendly profilesfrozen into a hard contourcircling above my headempty as a forehead of aira man's silhouette of black
Iliving—despitel...
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The Trial

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During his great speech the prosecutor kept piercing me with his yellow index finger I'm afraid I didn't appear self-assured unintentionally I put on a mask of fear and depravity like a rat caught in a trap an informer a fratricide the reporters w...
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The Monster Of Mr Cogito

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1 Lucky Saint George from his knight's saddle could exactly evaluate the strength and movements of the dragon the first principle of strategy is to assess the enemy accurately Mr Cogito is in a worse position he sits in the low saddle of a valley ...
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Report From Paradise

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In paradise the work week is fixed at thirty hours salaries are higher prices steadily go down manual labour is not tiring (because of reduced gravity) chopping wood is no harder than typing the social system is stable and the rulers are wise real...
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The Envoy Of Mr Cogito

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Go where those others went to the dark boundaryfor the golden fleece of nothingness your last prizego upright among those who are on their kneesamong those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dustyou were saved not in order to liveyou...
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Nothing Special

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nothing specialboards paintnails pastepaper stringmr artistbuilds a worldnot from atomsbut from remnantsforest of ardenfrom umbrellaionian seafrom parkers quinkjust as long ashis look is wisejust as long ashis hand is sure -and presto the world -h...
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Episode

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We walk by the sea-shore holding firmly in our hands the two ends of an antique dialogue —do you love me
—I love you with furrowed eyebrows I summarize all wisdom of the two testaments astrologers prophets philosophers of the gardens and cloi...
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To My Bones

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In my sleep it rips throughmy meagre skinthrows off the red bandage of the fleshand goes strolling through the roommy monument a little incompleteone can be prodigalwith tears and bloodwhat will endure here the longestmust be thoughtfully provided...
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Report From The Besieged City

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Too old to carry arms and fight like the others - they graciously gave me the inferior role of chronicler I record - I don't know for whom - the history of the siege I am supposed to be exact but I don't know when the invasion began two hundred ye...
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Objects

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Inanimate objects are always correct and cannot, unfortunately, be reproached with anything
I have never observed a chair shift from one foot to another, or a bed rear on its hind legs
And tables, even when they are tired, will not dare ...
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The Fable About A Nail

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For lack of a nail the kingdom has fallen —according to the wisdom of nursery schools—but in our kingdom there have been no nails for a long time there aren’t and won’t be either the small ones for hanging a picture on a wall or large ones for clo...
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Wasp

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When the honey, fruit and flowery tablecloth were whisked from the table in one sweep, it flew of with a start
Entangled in the suffocating smoke of the curtains, it buzzed for a long time
At last it reached the window
It beat its w...
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From The Top Of The Stairs

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Of course those who are standing at the top of the stairs know they know everything with us it's different sweepers of squares hostages of a better future those at the top of the stairs appear to us rarely with a hushing finger always at the mouth...
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Elegy Of Fortinbras

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for C
M
Now that we’re alone we can talk prince man to man though you lie on the stairs and see no more than a dead ant nothing but black sun with broken rays I could never think of your hands without smiling and now that they lie on the...
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Home

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A home above the year's seasonshome of children animals and applesa square of empty spaceunder an absent starhome was the telescope of childhoodthe skin of emotiona sister's cheekbranch of a treethe cheek was extinguished by flamethe branch crosse...
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How We Were Introduced

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—for perfidious protectorsI was playing in the street no one paid attention to me as I made forms out of sand mumbling Rimbaud under my breath once an elderly gentleman overheard it —little boy you are a poet just now we are organizing a grass-roo...
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