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Stary Sacz, A Poem by Adam Zagajewski     Leave a comment

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Kingwood, Texas) — Image by Hugh Poland

Stary Sacz

A woodpecker in his red cap suddenly brought back
the stationmaster in Stary Sacz.
Over the station rose a little town,
that is, an enormous market and convent of Poor Clares;
each house had one window holding jars of borscht and pickles.

The innkeeper’s daughter was so thin
that she kept bricks in her backpack to outwit the wind
when she crossed the viaduct above the train tracks.
The wind never got her, but other elements weren’t idle,
especially Nothingness and her rich suitor, Mr. Time.

Adam Zagajewski

******

Robert Pinsky wrote in The New Republic: “[In the poetry of Adam Zagajewski] the unmistakable quality
of the real thing–a sunlike force that wilts clichés and bollixes that categories of expectation–
manifests itself powerfully . . . Like a fish breaking water . . . the achievement of these poems [“Without End”]
is partly in that act of rising above a lived-in element. In Zagajewski’s work, the engulfing, ferocious
historical reality appears as our habitat–not a well of horrors to be borrowed for rhetorical thunder,
not an occasion for verse punditry, not a mere backdrop for sensibility. And the perception of that habitat
has a mysterious, elating power.”

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