Clare Cavanagh

Mirror
April 20, 2012

Yes, I remember that wall in our demolished town. It jutted almost up to the fifth floor. A mirror hung on the fourth, an impossible mirror, unshattered, firmly attached. It didn't reflect anybody's face, no hands arranging hair, no door across the room, nothing you could call a place. As if it were on vacation— the living sky gazed in it, busy clouds in the wild air, the dust of rubble washed by shining rains, birds in flight, stars, sunrises.  And like any well-made object, it functioned flawlessly, with an expert lack of astonishment. ­ —Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Baranczak

Family Home
June 30, 2011

You come here like a stranger, but this is your family home. The currants, the apple and cherry trees don’t know you. One noble tree readies a new brood of walnuts in peace, while the sun, like a worried first-grader, diligently colors in the shadows. The dining room pretends it is a crypt, and doesn’t give out one familiar echo— the old conversations haven’t lingered. There, where your life doubtless began, someone else’s television stutters. But the cellar’s been collecting darknesses— all the nights since you left are snarled like the yarn of an old sweater in which wild cats have nested. Y

Unwritten Elegy for Krakow’s Jews
April 07, 2011

“My family lived here for 500 years”—Dr.

Carts
October 20, 2010

Carts full of hay abandoned the town in greatest quiet. Cautious glances from the curtains. A morning empty as a waiting room. The rustling of papers in the archives; men calculate the losses. But that world. Suitcases packed. Sing for it, oriole, dance for it, little fox, catch it. —Translated by Clare Cavanagh  For more TNR, become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Stolarska Street
February 13, 2008

The small crowd by the American consulate ripples like a jellyfish in water. A young Dominican strides down the sidewalk and passersby yield piously. I'm at home again, silent as a Buddhist. I count the days of happiness and fretting, days spent seeking you frantically, finding just a metaphor, an image, days of Ecclesiastes and the Psalmist.   I remember the heatstruck scent of heather, the smell of sap in the forest by the sea, the dark of a white chapel in Provence, where only a candle's sun glowed. I remember Greece's small olives, Westphalia's gleaming railroads and the long trip to bid m

Some People
December 30, 1996

'Some People' appeared in the December 30, 1996 issue of the magazine.

Some People Like Poetry
October 28, 1996

'Some People Like Poetry' appeared in the October 28, 1996 issue of the magazine.

Unfathomable Life
January 01, 1996

From 1996, Helen Vendler reviews Szymborska's View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems.

The End and the Beginning
January 18, 1993

'The End and The Beginning' appeared in the January 18, 1993 issue of the magazine.