HomeBlogTEKST WSTĘPNY“a kornik napisze twój uładzony życiorys”

During my not so short life I’ve been followed by this well known poem of Zbigniew Herbert “The Envoy of Mr Cogito”. There’re words that sound like a warning,  since we don’t know who will have the funeral oration, if ever, so  it’s like a danger of being prescripted by the others (woodborers). To avoid it I’m trying to collect all my important and not so important textes into a one file – my own website. It is also the unique opportunity to have contact with my old and newly met friends, colleagues, fellows, classmates and students. Send me Your remarks or share Your opinions. Stay in touch, please….

Hereby the best (I ever read) Mrs and Mr Carpenter’s translation of Herbert’s  “The Envoy of Mr Cogito”.

The Envoy of Mr Cogito
by Zbigniew Herbert

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

and let your helpless Anger be like the sea
whenever your hear the voice of the insulted and beaten

let you sister Scorn not leave you
for the informers executioners cowards – they will win

they will go to your funeral with relief will throw a lump of earth
the woodborer will write your smoothed-over biography

and do not forgive truly it is not in your power
to forgive in the name of those betrayed at dawn

beware however of unnecessary pride
keep looking at your clown’s face in the mirror
repeat: I was called – weren’t there better ones

than I beware of dryness of heart love the morning spring
the bird with an unknown name the winter oak

light on a wall the splendour of the sky
they don’t need your warm breath

they are there to say: no one will console you

be vigilant – when the light on the mountains gives the
sign- arise and  go  as long as
blood turns in the breast your dark star

repeat old incantations of humanity fables and legends
because this is how you will attain the good you will not
attain repeat great words repeat them stubbornly

like those crossing the desert who perished in the sand

and they will reward you with what they have at hand
with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap

go because only in this way you will be admitted to the
company of cold skulls to the company of your ancestors: Gilgamesh Hector Roland
the defenders of the kingdom without limit and the city of ashes

Be faithful Go

translated by John Carpenter & Bogdana Carpenter

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