Monday, April 07, 2014

Our World (Adam Zagajewski, honoring W.G. Sebald)



In Memoriam W.G. Sebald

I never met him, I only knew
his books and the odd photos, as if
purchased in a secondhand shop, and human
fates discovered secondhand,
and a voice quietly narrating,
a gaze that caught so much,
a gaze turned back,
avoiding neither fear
nor rapture;

                  and our world in his prose,
our world, so calm--but
full of crimes perfectly forgotten,
even in lovely towns
on the coats of one sea or another,
our world full  of empty churches,
rutted with  railroad tracks, scars
of ancient trenches, highways,
cleft by uncertainty, our blind world
smaller now by you.


This poem is from the collection Eternal Enemies, by Adam Zagajewski, translated by Clare Cavanagh.

I posted it because I'm in the midst of reading W.G. Sebald's Vertigo--and am being seized by a spasm of appreciation for both writers, whose readers find themselves borne along satisfyingly by the steady movements of thought lurking within/behind the words on the page.


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