Thursday, August 4, 2016

Martyrdom by John Minczeski

Polish-American poet John Minczeski was recently featured in the New Yorker magazine. John's poems have appeared in various publications.  His recent book Letter to Serafin speaks of his love of Poland and his Polish ancestors.  My review and a sample poem can be found by clicking this link.  

You can hear John read the poem at the New Yorker site.  

The martyr does not die. He lives to create more like him.The conscience lives behind an anonymous windowIn tangletown. It is difficult to find the right one.You call and call and there is no answer. But neverA busy signal. The martyrs climb one sideOf a mountain and descend the other. It is a worldFull of dangers, hidden crevasses, avalanches,And so overwhelmingly beautiful they sometimesWish they could die right there. They endureHardship and posthumous fameWith its bitter aftertaste, the feeling of lookingAlmost into infinity, which leaves them giddy,As if drunk. They carry miles of rope for their descents.So many martyrs. So much rope. So muchClimbing and descending. Though very hard, their workGoes on. The conscience, meanwhile, cooks an egg.It brushes water on a hard crust and fries it in a skillet,Making it chewable. It may go to market later today,but then again it may wait until tomorrow.


Linda Nemec Foster said...

This is a brilliant poem. I first read it when it appeared in The New Yorker. Congratulations to John Minczeski on this achievement--not only in writing this fine poem but getting it published in one of the top magazines in the country.
Linda Nemec Foster

Sally Boss said...

It is a fine poem, but I disagree with its message. It is too pessimistic. The martyr does not live "to create more like him." First, he becomes a martyr only after he is dead. Second, he lives his pre-martyrdom life in order to encourage others to live well. One is unlikely to become a martyr unless one had lived a life replete with fortitude. Remembering someone as a martyr is a clarion call for others to live well. Christianity has flourished owing to its martyrs (among others), who inspired others to develop fortitude and endurance.