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Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Knocker

(The Library by Jacob Lawrence, 1917-2000, American

“Friends can most of all be what they want to be, and what they are called to be, exactly when they are members of a broader flourishing community,” writes John Cuddeback in True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness. “The Greeks had a wonderful insight. The height of human greatness is the greatness of a community, a community whose backbone is friendship.”


There are those who grow
gardens in their heads
paths lead from their hair
to sunny and white cities

it’s easy for them to write
they close their eyes
immediately schools of images
stream down from their foreheads

my imagination
is a piece of board
my sole instrument
is a wooden stick

I strike the board
it answers me
yes — yes
no — no

for others the green bell of a tree
the blue bell of water
I have a knocker
from unprotected gardens

I thump on the board
and it prompts me
with the moralist’s dry poem
yes — yes
no — no

~ Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998), Polish poet

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