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)