Monday, March 12, 2012

Tuesday Poem--To the River by Zbigniew Herbert

River--hourglass of water metaphor of eternity

I enter you more and more changed

so I could be a cloud a fish or rock

while you are the same like a clock that measures

the metamorphoses of the body and descents of the spirit

slow disintegration of tissues and love

I who am born of clay

want to be your pupil

and learn the spring the Olympian heart

o cool torch rustling column

bedrock of my faith and my despair

river teach me stubbornness and endurance

so in the last hour I become worthy

of rest in the shade of the great delta

in the holy triangle of the beginning and of the end.

Zbigniew Herbert
(translated by John and Bogdana Carpenter)


  1. thank you, dear melissa. just the litany (for starters) of "a cloud or fish or rock" makes me want to immerse myself in this poem, be anointed.

  2. I like the poet talking to the river - very nice. Mind you, I love rivers. the collection I've sent you has a river in it. (It will be another few days i think until it gets to you - I took so long packing it up worried the book would get wrecked). The holy triangle here is compelling, with the I in that stanza as the apex, and the way the words flow down the page like water, unhindered by punctuation.