Thursday, September 30, 2021

Report From Paradise

Report From Paradise

In paradise the work week is fixed at thirty hours
salaries are higher prices steadily go down
manual labour is not tiring (because of reduced gravity)
chopping wood is no harder than typing
the social system is stable and the rulers are wise
really in paradise one is better off than in whatever country

At first it was to have been different
luminous circles choirs and degrees of abstraction
but they were not able to separate exactly
the soul from the flesh and so it would come here
with a drop of fat a thread of muscle
it was necessary to face the consequences
to mix a grain of the absolute with a grain of clay
one more departure from doctrine the last departure
only John foresaw it: you will be resurrected in the flesh

not many behold God
he is only for those of 100 per cent pneuma
the rest listen to communiqués about miracles and floods
some day God will be seen by all
when it will happen nobody knows

As it is now every Saturday at noon
sirens sweetly bellow
and from the factories go the heavenly proletarians
awkwardly under their arms they carry their wings like violins

-Zbigniew Herbert
(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. 


  1. This is a poem I need to read a few more times I think. It's different, but I like it.

    1. It is pretty double edged! I think he's making fun mostly of communism, but then maybe also of church doctrine...but then there's a slight sweetness to it, too...

  2. that doesn't sound all that great... i think i'll just stay here... (lol)

  3. So, if I understand this correctly, I am actually chopping wood right now...