Friday, April 16, 2010

Music Heard with You - Adam Zagajewski

Music I heard with you was more than music...

Music heard with you
will stay forever with us.

Grave Brahms and elegaic Schubert,
a few songs, Chopin's third sonata,

a couple of quartets with heart -
breaking chords (Beethoven, adagia),

the sadness of Shostakovich that
didn't want to die.

The great choruses of Bach's Passions,
as if someone had summoned us,

demanding joy,
pure and disinterested,

joy in which faith
is self-evident.

Some scraps of Lutoslawski
as fugitive as our thoughts.

A black woman singing blues
ran through us like shining steel,

even though it reached us on the street
of an ugly, dirty town.

Mahler's endless marches,
the trumpet's voice opening Symphony no. 5

and the first part of the Ninth
(you sometimes call him "malheur!")

Mozart's despair in the Requiem
his buoyant piano concertos -

you hummed them better than I did,
but we both know that.

Music heard with you
will grow still with us.

(translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh)

Adam Zagajewski (b.1945) is Polish-born but lives in both Poland and Chicago. He is currently a member of the University of Chicago faculty.He became widely know for his poem Try to Praise the Mutilated World, which was published by The New Yorker magazine shortly after September 11, 2001.

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