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 gentleman 
separated once and for all 
and said 
this in the subject 
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 

 
Zbigniew Herbert
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