Friday, May 27, 2005

Other people aren't hell

I was about to go home when a heavy downpour set in. Not wanting to waste time staring at the swarthy rainwater gathering at the gutter, I decided to go to a secondhand bookstore. Skimming the titles of the stacks, I saw a book by the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. It seemed to be a random collection of his rather disjointed thoughts in prose, moments of poetical insights inspired by daily observations (like a literary blog, if you will).

I'm not a great fan of poetry in general and I've never read any Zagajewski before (I have a copy of his Canvas, but I never read it), but while browsing this book called Another Beauty, I came to read his poem also entitled Another Beauty, which served as the epigrammic introduction for the book , and I was instantly converted:

We find comfort only in
another beauty, in others'
music, in the poetry of others.
Salvation lies with others,
though solitude may taste like
opium. Other people aren't hell
if you glimpse them at dawn, when
their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams.

Salvation lies with others, though solitude may taste like opium. Other people aren't hell if you glimpse them at dawn, when their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams. The importance of social community; to get to the City of God, you must first pass through the City of Man. Come to think of it, Robert Putnam said the same thing in Bowling Alone.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't you think you're extrapolating too much, bringing in St Augustine?

hastang said...

i'd love to get hold of that book :)..

Ronnel said...

If you come to one of the book discussions of the InMediasRes (homepage is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/inmediasres/), I can lend the book to you.