Poet's Choice

By Mary Karr
Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm a crank whose natural state is ingratitude, so I need to ingest some poetry to gear up for Thanksgiving. Polish poet Adam Zagajewski's "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" is as helpful as it is moving because it acknowledges some verifiable causes of grumpiness:

Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June's long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrow

the abandoned homesteads of exiles.

You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;

one of them had a long trip ahead of it,

while salty oblivion awaited others.

You've seen the refugees going nowhere,

you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.

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