Our Fear

Our fear 
does not wear a night shirt 
does not have owl’s eyes 
does not lift a casket lid 
does not extinguish a candle 

does not have a dead man’s face either 

our fear 
is a scrap of paper 
found in a pocket 
‘warn Wójcik 
the place on Dluga Street is hot’ 


our fear 
does not rise on the wings of the tempest 
does not sit on a church tower 
it is down-to-earth 


it has the shape 
of a bundle made in haste 
with warm clothing 
provisions 
and arms 


our fear 
does not have the face of a dead man 
the dead are gentle to us 
we carry them on our shoulders 
sleep under the same blanket 


close their eyes 
adjust their lips 
pick a dry spot 
and bury them 


not too deep 
not too shallow 
Zbigniew Herbert
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