Zbigniew Herbert

Z
Zbigniew Herbert
The Envoy of Mr. Cogito
Go where those others went to the dark boundary
for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize

go upright among those who are on their knees
among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust

you were saved not in order to live
you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous
in the final account only this is important
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How We Were Introduced
—for perfidious protectors I was playing in the street
no one paid attention to me
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What Our Dead Do
Jan came this morning
—I dreamt of my father
he says

he was riding in an oak coffin
I walked next to the hearse
and father turned to me:

you dressed me nicely
and the funeral is very beautiful
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The Last Attack. To Klaus
Permit me to open by expressing joy and wonder
that we're marching at the head of our companies
in different uniforms under a different command
but with a single aim—to survive

You say to me—look here we should probably let
these boys go home to their Margot to their Kasia
war is beautiful only in parades
but apart from that as we know—mud and blood
and rats

As you speak comes an avalanche of artillery fire
it's that bastard Parkinson who is taking so long
he caught up with us at last when we took a walk
on an irregular route our collars loose at the chin
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