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Hannah Arendt

by Ewa Lipska

translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

Hannah Arendt
Euro City on the Heidelberg-Hamburg line.
Chronic love racing
through the docile squares of fields
through Europe’s lingering infection
evil’s simplicity.

Martin Heidegger
the Führer of philosophy.

He’d be a train as punctual
as faith’s ambiguity.

March. March. Long-distance march.
The fanatical complexity of passing stations.
under predestination’s stretched sail.

Hannah Arendt
Martin Heidegger
without regaining death.

New volunteers
now stand along the platform
calling on the evidence of their luggage.

They carefully unpack their ideologies,
drowned by the noise of an ontological excavator
philosophy’s adoptive aunt.


Clare Cavanagh is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages at Northwestern University. She translated the works of Wislawa Symborska (with Stanislaw Baranczak) and Adam Zagajewski. Her book Poetry and Power: Russia, Poland and the West is forthcoming from Yale University Press. (2001)

Ewa Lipska is a prominent Polish poet closely associated with the so-called “Generation of ’68” movement, which included, among others Adam Zagajewski, Stanislaw Baranczak, and Ryszard Krynicki. She lives in Vienna, where until recently she was the director of the Polish Institute. A selection of her poems, translated by Barbara Plebanek and Tony Howard, appeared in English as “Poet? Criminal? Madman?” (1991). (2001)


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