Wednesday, February 29, 2012


T H E   S O U L

by Adam Zagajewski

translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

We know we’re not allowed to use your name.
We know you’re inexpressible,
anemic, frail, and suspect
for mysterious offenses as a child.
We know that you are not allowed to live now
in music or in trees at sunset.
We know—or at least we have been told—
that you do not exist at all, anywhere.
And yet we still keep hearing your weary voice
—in an echo, a complaint, in the letters we receive
from Antigone in the Greek desert.

I was powerless to do much this afternoon but sit and read the books by Adam Zagajewski I brought home from the library yesterday. I found the above poem so beautiful, so melancholy.  I'm trying to find a block of time, and the courage, mostly the courage, to open up my work in progress, which has so much to do with the soul. I haven't looked at it for six months, deliberately so.  Other writing projects have taken precedence, but also, I found with my last novel-manuscript (Hive), that it was necessary, productive, enlightening, to leave it for a time.  In fact, I left it several times for varying spans of time, as a way of coming at it fresh. To know it as an abandoned work. And to reclaim that abandonment. In the same sideways manner, perhaps, that Zagajewski reclaims the poetic use of the word, the idea, the voice of the soul.

I'd nearly abandoned these photos.  I shot them the same day I shot the petals on the books (a few posts down).  These were a bit of an afterthought but I think they're lovely enough for something.  For this.

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