Somwhere warm, a bed, food, clothes. If you do not know any other way of life then you would be happy ( because you know nothing else). Surely though it is still a pittyfull and very basic and primitive existance.???
Well, I don't know the life in a real prison, but you can read or see (in the movies) about people who spent years behind the bars and when they are released they struggle, because they learned how to live with the harsh, but simpler rules during their imprisonment and now the "real world" is too overwhelming, too complicated to start anew.
That's what this short poem (parable) was about. Those who were born in an oppressed country ("in the cage") didn't know any other life, so they tried to rationalize it, to find the positives (the owner supplied food and some basic security), while those who knew the life in a free world (with all its difficulties - like having to take care of themselves) still missed the freedom.Ptaszki w klatce
by Ignacy Krasicki
, published 1779, after the first partition of Poland, 1772, before the second (1793) and the third partion (1795), so when only parts of Poland were divided between Russia, Preussia (today's Germany) and Austria)
"Czegoż płaczesz? — staremu mówił czyżyk młody —
Masz teraz lepsze w klatce niż w polu wygody".
"Tyś w niej zrodzon — rzekł stary — przeto ci wybaczę;
Jam był wolny, dziś w klatce — i dlatego płaczę".English translation
by Christopher Kasparek
Birds in a Cage
"Why do you weep?" inquired the young siskin of the old,
"You're more comfortable in this cage than out in the cold."
"You were born caged," said the elder, "this was your morrow;
"I was free, now I'm caged—hence the cause of my sorrow."
Written in the 18th century, it pretty much reflects what was happening under the communist rule in the years 1945-89. And what is happening today - many of the people born in the cage can't adapt to a new reality, where they are no longer given
, what they need, but have to fight for it (like wild
, free animals).
Poland, after so many years, or even centuries, under foreign rules, isn't as strong as it should be, so we won't have soon the western European standards of living. The price for the political freedom is a lower social security (lower wages, pensions, more unemployment), and loosened social/familiar relations (along with other cultural changes mentioned by Polonius3), hence many people (especially older ones) are unhappy with all what happened after 1989, because they had adapted well to their lives in the cage and then they had to adapt to a new situation, and quite often they failed. I think, we can't really blame them for it, still it pisses me off sometimes, and I wished they could all travel back in time to their idealized cages.
Those sentiments are strengthened especially when people see how the long-time oppressors were able to arrange their lives: most state-owned companies were privatized and the ex-communist prominents, including the cruel secret police members, got the lion shares in those companies, thus gaining the economical power, or rather keeping it, which gave them of course strong influences in politics as well.
So I can risk a statement that the transition to an indipendent Polish state in 1918 (after the WWI), after over 100 years of occupation by Russians, Germans and Austrian, was still easier than what Poland had to face in 1989, because the commies left for the next genarations only bare bones of a country.