• RIP Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012)

The Polish poet Wisława Szymborska died yesterday in Kraków.  She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996 ‘for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality’.

A Note

Life is the only way
to get covered in leaves,
catch your breath on the sand,
rise on wings;

to be a dog,
or stroke its warm fur;

to tell pain
from everything it’s not;

to squeeze inside events,
dawdle in views,
to seek the least of all possible mistakes.

An extraordinary chance
to remember for a moment
a conversation held
with the lamp switched off;

and if only once
to stumble on a stone,
end up soaked in one downpour or another,
mislay your keys in the grass;
and to follow a spark in the wind with your eyes;

and to keep on not knowing
something important.

Notatka, translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak
from the collection Chwila (Moment, 2003)

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