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Early Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert by Jaroslav Seifert
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's review
May 10, 10

bookshelves: poetry, nobel-prize-laureates, 2010
Read in April, 2010

Well, no surprise this collection has not caught on here. It's ridiculously communist, and the earliest poems serve as a reluctant but robust call to armed revolution against the established order. Even considering the early 20th century context, it's hard to get fully caught in the poet's voice. But when his pure human insights shine through, they mesmerize as universally as the best poets do.

"This happens with people all the same;
in the whirl of the day and everyday din
we pretend
that we don't even know each other,
but if one of us beholds another in a coffin,
he learns
that in reality he quite liked him
and should have smiled at him at least a little while alive,
having failed to shake his hand." (13)

"I was thinking:
What if all those who are lying here
burdened the heavens with their prayers
for a little love and for grace,
surely the weight of prayer heaven would break,
snuffed out,
the sun would tumble,
stars falling would shake
and turn dark,
the moon would lose its light;
to earth it would all fall
between houses, onto streets, on grass between flowers
for the love of those who loved
and for the sing of those who had sinner." (19)
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