Among Many Tasks (Tadeusz Rozewicz)

February 23, 2010

Among many tasks
very urgent
I’ve forgotten that
it’s also necessary
to be dying

frivolous
I have neglected this obligation
or have been fulfilling it
superficially

beginning tomorrow
everything will change
I will start dying assiduously
wisely optimistically
without wasting time

(Trans. from the Polish by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. Maguire)

*

“The dance of poetry” ended, Rozewicz has said, after the concentrations camps. One of the preeminent Polish poets of the last century, Rozewicz’s poetic career has been in many ways a response to the aftermath of World War II. His poems are aesthetically straightforward, with little ornament. He has been called a “poet of silence,” but I don’t really know what that means. I had never thought about dying as a task one takes up, and with urgency. One among many others, it seems, and like so many other failed tasks, one feels compelled to begin over and over.

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