I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Herbert-ZbigniewZbigniew Herbert (October 29, 1924 – July 28, 1998) was a Polish poet, essayist, drama writer and moralist.

A member of the Polish resistance movement, Home Army (AK), during World War II, he is one of the best known and the most translated post-war Polish writers.While he was first published in the 1950s (a volume titled String of light was issued in 1956), soon after he voluntarily ceased submitting most of his works to official Polish government publications. He resumed publication in the 1980s, initially in the underground press.

Herbert was educated as an economist and a lawyer. Herbert was one of the main poets of the Polish opposition to communism. Starting in 1986, he lived in Paris, where he cooperated with the journal Zeszyty Literackie. He came back to Poland in 1992. On July 1, 2007, the Polish Government instituted 2008 as the Year of Zbigniew Herbert.

Zbigniew Herbert

As soon as the train got going
the tall dark type begins
and he speaks like this to the boy
with a book on his knees

—you like to read boy

—I like it—replies the latter
it makes the times go by
always plenty of work a home
here it doesn’t bother people

—Well there you’re certainly right
what is it you’re reading

—The Peasants—replies the latter
very true to life
only a little too long
it’s the right length for winter

I’ve also read The Folk Wedding
that’s actually a play
very hard to follow
too many people

The Deluge is something else again
you read and it’s like you’d seen it
really—he says—great
almost as good as a movie

Hamlet—by a foreign writer
also very interesting
only this Danish prince
is a bit too much of a sissy

dark in the train
the conversation suddenly breaks off
the authoritative commentary ceases

in the white margins
the prints of fingers and the soil
have marked with rough thumb-nail
rapture and condemnation


Zbigniew Herbert

The pebble
is a perfect creature

equal to itself
mindful of its limits

filled exactly
with a pebbly meaning

with a scent that does not remind one of anything
does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire

its ardor and coldness
are just and full of dignity

I feel a heavy remorse
when I hold it in my hand
and its noble body
is permeated by false warmth

—Pebbles cannot be tamed
to the end they will look at us
with a calm and very clear eye