I Would Like to Describe
I would like to describe the simplest emotion joy or sadness but not as others do reaching for shafts of rain or sun I would like to describe a light which is being born in me but I know it does not resemble any star for it is not so bright not so pure and is uncertain I would like to describe courage without dragging behind me a dusty lion and also anxiety without shaking a glass full of water to put it another way I would give all metaphors in return for one word drawn out of my breast like a rib for one word contained within the boundaries of my skin but apparently this is not possible and just to say - I love I run around like mad picking up handfuls of birds and my tenderness which after all is not made of water asks the water for a face and anger different from fire borrows from it a loquacious tongue so is blurred so is blurred in me what white-haired gentlemen separated once and for all and said this is the subject and this is the object we fall asleep with one hand under our head and with the other in a mound of planets our feet abandon us and taste the earth with their tiny roots which next morning we tear out painfully
From The Collected Poems 1956-1998 by Zbigniew Herbert. © 2007 by The Estate of Zbigniew Herbert. Published by arrangement with Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.