Report From Paradise
In paradise the work week is fixed at thirty hourssalaries are higher prices steadily go downmanual labour is not tiring (because of reduced gravity)chopping wood is no harder than typingthe social system is stable and the rulers are wisereally in paradise one is better off than in whatever countryAt first it was to have been differentluminous circles choirs and degrees of abstractionbut they were not able to separate exactlythe soul from the flesh and so it would come herewith a drop of fat a thread of muscleit was necessary to face the consequencesto mix a grain of the absolute with a grain of clayone more departure from doctrine the last departureonly John foresaw it: you will be resurrected in the fleshnot many behold Godhe is only for those of 100 per cent pneumathe rest listen to communiqués about miracles and floodssome day God will be seen by allwhen it will happen nobody knowsAs it is now every Saturday at noonsirens sweetly bellowand from the factories go the heavenly proletariansawkwardly under their arms they carry their wings like violins
(tr. Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott)
Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998) was a Polish poet, born in Lwów. 'Report From Paradise' is from his book Inscription of 1969.