Wednesday Poem

Adam Zagajewski

I watched the arctic landscape from above

and thought of nothing, lovely nothing.

I observed white canopies of clouds, vast

expanses where no wolf tracks could be found.

I thought about you and about the emptiness

that can promise one thing only: plenitude—

and that a certain sort of snowy wasteland

bursts from a surfeit of happiness.

As we drew closer to our landing,

the vulnerable earth emerged among the clouds,

comic gardens forgotten by their owners,

pale grass plagued by winter and the wind.

I put my book down and for an instant felt

a perfect balance between waking and dreams.

But when the plane touched concrete, then

assiduously circled the airport's labryinth,

I once again knew nothing. The darkness

of daily wanderings resumed, the day's sweet darkness,

the darkness of the voice that counts and measures,

remembers and forgets.

Translation: Clare Cavanaugh
From Eternal Enemies by Adam Zagajewski;
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008