Zbigniew Herbert

(29 October 1924 – 28 July 1998 / Lvov)

Mr. Cogito And The Imagination - Poem by Zbigniew Herbert

Mr. Cogito never trusted
tricks of the imagination

the piano at the top of the Alps
played false concerts for him

he didn't appreciate labyrinths
the Sphinx filled him with loathing

he lived in a house with no basement
without mirrors of dialectics

jungles of tangled images
were not his home

he would rarely soar
on the wings of metaphor
and then he fell like Icarus
into the embrace of the Great Mother

he adored tautologies
explanations
idem per idem

that a bird is a bird
slavery means slavery
a knife is a knife
death remains death

he loved
the flat horizon
a straight line
the gravity of the earth


Comments about Mr. Cogito And The Imagination by Zbigniew Herbert

  • (4/4/2018 2:17:00 PM)

    Knowing how the Nazis used words to hide meaning, knowing with certainty 'a knife is a knife' is crucial in the service of truth. We live in an era where words again are more smokescreens than beacons for meaning. (Report)Reply

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  • Kim Barney (2/8/2015 12:13:00 PM)

    Mr. Cogito was rather a boring person, wasn't he? As Rajnish Manga says, he would never have been a poet! (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Rajnish Manga (2/8/2015 12:45:00 AM)

    Mr Cogito's dislike for a world full of imagination is sure to debar him to become a poet or the merchant of dreams. Look at these magical lines which are so adorable: the piano at the top of the Alps / played false concerts for him. My heart goes out to the composer of this wonderful poem. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: metaphor, house, death, mother, home, mirror, trust



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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