Zbigniew Herbert

(29 October 1924 – 28 July 1998 / Lvov)

The Monster of Mr Cogito


1

Lucky Saint George
from his knight's saddle
could exactly evaluate
the strength and movements of the dragon

the first principle of strategy
is to assess the enemy accurately

Mr Cogito
is in a worse position
he sits in the low
saddle of a valley
covered with thick fog

through fog it is impossible to perceive
fiery eyes
greedy claws
jaws

through fog
one sees only
the shimmering of nothingness

the monster of Mr Cogito
has no measurements
it is difficult to describe
escapes definition

it is like an immense depression
spread out over the country

it can't be pierced
with a pen

with an argument
or spear

were it not for its suffocating weight
and the death it sends down
one would think
it is the hallucination
of a sick imagination
but it exists
for certain it exists

like carbon monoxide it fills
houses temples markets

poisons wells
destroys the structures of the mind
covers bread with mould

the proof of the existence of the monster
is its victims

it is not direct proof
but sufficient

2

reasonable people say
we can live together
with the monster

we only have to avoid
sudden movements
sudden speech

if there is a threat assume
the form of a rock or a leaf

listen to wise Nature
recommending mimicry

that we breathe shallowly
pretend we aren't there


Mr Cogito however
does not want a life of make-believe
he would like to fight
with the monster
on firm ground

so he walks out at dawn
into a sleepy suburb
carefully equipped
with a long sharp object

he calls to the monster
on the empty streets
he offends the monster
provokes the monster

like a bold skirmisher
of an army that doesn't exist

he calls -
come out contemptible coward

through the fog
one sees only
the huge snout of nothingness

Mr Cogito wants to enter
the uneven battle
it ought to happen
possibly soon

before there is
a fall from inertia
an ordinary death without glory
suffocation from formlessness

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: fog, depression, sick, strength, believe, death, nature, together, people

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Monster of Mr Cogito by Zbigniew Herbert )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Two Cats, Harold R Hunt Sr
  2. The Shrunken Head, Ronald Peat
  3. SHE - a love poem, Thomas Kay
  4. Upon Me, Edward Kofi Louis
  5. Global Pie-in-the-sky, stephen ifill
  6. Fifty Percent, Tom Higgins
  7. Yamine, Edward Kofi Louis
  8. I want eyes, Nassy Fesharaki
  9. One More For The Road., Tom Higgins
  10. We don't accept anything anytime...., MOHAMMAD SKATI

Poem of the Day

poet Joyce Kilmer

(For the Rev. James J. Daly, S. J.)

Bright stars, yellow stars, flashing through the air,
Are you errant strands of Lady Mary's hair?
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
  5. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  6. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  7. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  8. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  9. The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]