We know we’re not allowed to use your name.
We know you’re inexpressible,
anemic, frail, and suspect
for mysterious offenses as a child.
We know that you are not allowed to live now
in music or in trees at sunset.
We know—or at least we have been told—
that you do not exist at all, anywhere.
And yet we still keep hearing your weary voice
—in an echo, a complaint, in the letters we receive
from Antigone in the Greek desert.
Adam Zagajewski is a Polish poet. He has published over 20 books of poetry and essays, many of which have been translated into other languages. Recent translations of his work into English include A Defense of Ardor: Essays (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2005) and Eternal Enemies: Poems (FSG 2009). (updated 6/2010)
Read “Between Athens & Jerusalem: A Conversation with Adam Zagajewski” by Brian Barker and Todd Samuelson in AGNI Online.