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Ebook Pan Cogito by Zbigniew Herbert read! Book Title: Pan Cogito
The author of the book: Zbigniew Herbert
Date of issue: 1974
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 469 KB
Edition: Czytelnik

Read full description of the books Pan Cogito:

Mr Cogito is a persona used by Zbigniew Herbert to cogitate about the world in unworldly ways. Not all poems in this thin book employ the good Cogito, but the thinking is surely the same--strange. I do feel that the earlier poems (and the shorter ones) are stronger than the later (and longer) ones.

As is the case with all poetry not written in English, the translation can't help but be fraught and, to people in the know (not me), controversial to some degree. In this 1993 release, John and Bogdana Carpenter have given us a Herbert collection that shuns punctuation. What's different, however, is how the line break can't always be counted on as a safety net, either. Reading these poems takes some adjustments on the part of the reader. Sometimes, without cue, a pause is in order mid-line. This forces the reader into a recursive mode. I was constantly spinning back, rereading lines, then going, "Ah, yes. NOW, read THAT way, it makes sense."

Herbert studied law, economics, and philosophy at the Universities of Krakow, Torun, and Warsaw, so of course his poems give the whiff of academia and act like humanists of the first order. Here's a taste of his style:

The Envoy of Mr Cogito

Go where those others went to the dark boundary
for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize

go upright among those who are on their knees
among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust

you were saved not in order to live
you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous
in the final account only this is important

and let your helpless Anger be like the sea
whenever you hear the voice of the insulted and beaten

let your sister Scorn not leave you
for the informers executioners cowards—they will win
they will go to your funeral and with relief will throw a lump of earth
the woodborer will write your smoothed-over biography

and do not forgive truly it is not in your power
to forgive in the name of those betrayed at dawn

beware however of unnecessary pride
keep looking at your clown’s face in the mirror
repeat: I was called—weren’t there better ones than I

beware of dryness of heart love the morning spring
the bird with an unknown name the winter oak

light on a wall the splendour of the sky
they don’t need your warm breath
they are there to say: no one will console you

be vigilant—when the light on the mountains gives the sign—arise and go
as long as blood turns in the breast your dark star

repeat old incantations of humanity fables and legends
because this is how you will attain the good you will not attain
repeat great words repeat them stubbornly
like those crossing the desert who perished in the sand

and they will reward you with what they have at hand
with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap

go because only in this way will you be admitted to the company of cold skulls
to the company of your ancestors: Gilgamesh Hector Roland
the defenders of the kingdom without limit and the city of ashes

Be faithful Go


Note how the lack of periods actually helps the finish in this poem. One feels the need to go when one reaches the end, in other words. No punctuation is going to stop you. Here's a shorter one I liked:

Ordinariness of the Soul

In the morning mice scamper
over the head
over the floor of the head
shreds of conversations
scraps of a poem
the room's muse
enters
in a blue apron
she sweeps

such important guests
visit my master
Heraclitus the Ephesian for example
of the prophet Isaiah

today no one rings

the master paces about impatiently
talks to himself
tears up innocent papers

in the evening goes out in an unknown direction

the muse unties her blue apron
rests her elbows on the window sill
leans out
waits
for her sergeant
with red moustaches


As a poet, I'm always looking to learn from poets who know their way around a poem (I'm in the labyrinth compared to the heavyweights outside, playing with Ariadne's balls of yarn). Herbert proves that punctuation need not constrict the poet, that you can experiment with words liberated from such conventions. He's a master of the short line, of uneven lines, of one-line stanzas, of the ordinary dressed up in extraordinary rags, of the odd tangent thought dropped carelessly for readers to step over or pick up.

Something to cogitate over, in other words. And to expand your reading and writing horizons...

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Ebook Pan Cogito read Online! Zbigniew Herbert was a Polish poet, essayist, drama writer, author of plays, and moralist. He is one of the best known and the most translated post-war Polish writers.


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