Barbarians

By Adam Zagajewski

We were the barbarians.
You trembled before us in your palaces.
You awaited us with pounding hearts.
You commented on our languages:
they apparently consist of consonants alone,
of rustles, whispers, and dry leaves
.
We were those who lived in the dark forests.
We were what Ovid feared in Tomi,
we were the worshippers of gods with names
you could not pronounce.
But we too knew loneliness
and fear, and began longing for poetry.

(For me this poem by a contemporary Polish poet speaks to the where and why of poetry)

4 thoughts on “Barbarians

  1. Here is a poem I’d like to share

    Genealogy

    by Camille Rankine

    I was born in a forest.
    I don’t know my name.
    I was born on a mountain but changed
    my mind. I was born
    in the desert. All my people died
    in the fire and left me
    with the gods. They called me dust.
    How it burned me. I come from the sea,
    I believe. I come from beryl,
    aquamarine. All my people
    rode their horses off
    the edge of the world and left me
    on your doorstep. They called me
    sorrow. I don’t know my name.
    I come from wartime. How it burned me.
    I was born aflame, I believe. A sun
    so intentional. A sun in repose, a sun
    in continuous sunset, sinking into the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

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