"3 Arkonska Street"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Jan. 11 2011 2:23 PM

"3 Arkonska Street"

In Gliwice

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Adam Zagajewski read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

.

Mrs. Mazonska was our neighbor from the first floor
at 3 Arkonska Street (Pszoniak lived next door,
Różewicz on the corner of Zygmunt and Słowacki).
She had dyed red hair and gold on her fingers.
Her husband, a tall, thin professor at the Polytechnic,
gave me an album full of stamps,
with a green Congo, a sky-blue France,
and a few pinkish brown Second Republics.
Mrs. Mazonska invited me sometimes
for tea and treated me like a grown-up,
with serious, straightforward conversation.
But I wasn't really grown-up.
I didn't know who I was—
in the mirror I saw only eyes
that didn't look at me.
Chestnuts fell from the trees, shining and pure.
Beyond the window, in the grass, in the microscopic garden,
quizzical starlings hopped.
In the church tower, and the town hall tower, on the walls
of our apartments, in flat wristwatches,
time worked relentlessly;
it was ubiquitous—the secret police
was no match for it,
even thought couldn't keep up.

Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh.

.

Adam Zagajewski was born in Lvov, Poland, in 1945. His most recent book is Eternal Enemies.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

A Comically Inane Court Opinion Just Upheld Puerto Rico’s Gay Marriage Ban

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 23 2014 3:55 PM Panda Sluggers Democrats are in trouble. Time to bash China.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM What Happens When You Serve McDonald’s to Food Snobs and Tell Them It’s Organic
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM South Florida’s Desperate Secession Movement
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.