… in responding to totalitarianism.
Zbigniew Herbert, Mr Cogito and the Imagination:
Mr Cogito never trusted
tricks of the imagination
the piano at the top of the Alps
played false concerts for him
he didn’t appreciate labyrinths
the Sphinx filled him with loathing
he lived in a house with no basement
without mirrors or dialectics
jungles of tangled images
were not his home
he would rarely soar
on the wings of a metaphor
and then he fell like Icarus
into the embrace of the Great Mother
he adored tautologies
idem per idem
that a bird is a bird
slavery means slavery
a knife is a knife
death remains death
the flat horizon
a straight line
the gravity of the earth
Pablo Neruda, I am Explaining a Few Things
You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics ?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?’
And you will ask: why doesn’t his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?
Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
in the streets!
… and equally without allegory
and without fuss.