Saturday, February 20, 2021

Is That All


Is That All
by Julia Hartwig
Translated by John & Bogdana Carpenter
What is a poem worth if it doesn't perform a miracle?
A mother is resurrected and once again strokes our heads.
We forget our own death, and our legs never hurt.
No one talks too much. Moralizing ends, as well as boasting
Everyone lives according to his measure
Dressing and cleaning don't devour time.
Children are caricatures of their parents, and parents, always young, leave one day for a walk before sunset.
So is that all you expect from a miracle?
Even when we are beset by daily upheavals, sorrows, drudgeries, unending chores and heaviness of heart, there is this wish within us to let a miracle unfold before us. That is the theme of this lovely poem by the great Polish poet Julia Hartwig.
The miracle of poetry unfolding through resurrection and subtle transformations of human kind, which in the end of the poem seems questionable as the poet poses in the end line: So is that all you expect from a miracle? The paradox is nailing into the reader's complacency.