Wislawa Szymborska
Three Oddest Words by Wislawa Szymborska

Three Oddest Words by Wislawa Szymborska

When I pronounce the word Future,the first syllable already belongs to the past.When I pronounce the word Silence,I destroy it.When I pronounce the word Nothing,I make something ...

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Possibilities by Wislawa Szymborska

Possibilities by Wislawa Szymborska

I prefer movies.I prefer cats.I prefer the oaks along the Warta.I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.I prefer myself liking peopleto myself loving mankind.I prefer keeping a needle and ...

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Miracle Fair by Wislawa Szymborska

Miracle Fair by Wislawa Szymborska

Commonplace miracle: that so many commonplace miracles happen. An ordinary miracle: in the dead of night the barking of invisible dogs. One miracle out of many: a small, airy ...

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A Few Words On The Soul by Wislawa Szymborska

A Few Words On The Soul by Wislawa Szymborska

We have a soul at times.No one’s got it non-stop,for keeps.Day after day,year after yearmay pass without it.Sometimesit will settle for awhileonly in childhood’s fears and ...

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On Death, Without Exaggeration by Wislawa Szymborska

On Death, Without Exaggeration by Wislawa Szymborska

It can't take a joke, find a star, make a bridge. It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming, building ships, or baking cakes.In our planning for tomorrow, it has the final ...

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Hunger Camp At Jaslo by Wislawa Szymborska

Hunger Camp At Jaslo by Wislawa Szymborska

Write it. Write. In ordinary inkon ordinary paper: they were given no food,they all died of hunger. "All. How many?It's a big meadow. How much grassfor each one?" Write: I don't ...

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Still by Wislawa Szymborska

Still by Wislawa Szymborska

In sealed box cars travelnames across the land,and how far they will travel so,and will they ever get out,don't ask, I won't say, I don't know.The name Nathan strikes fist against ...

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Lot’s Wife by Wislawa Szymborska

Lot’s Wife by Wislawa Szymborska

They say I looked back out of curiosity.But I could have had other reasons.I looked back mourning my silver bowl.Carelessly, while tying my sandal strap.So I wouldn't have to keep ...

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Tortures by Wislawa Szymborska

Tortures by Wislawa Szymborska

Nothing has changed.The body is susceptible to pain,it must eat and breathe air and sleep,it has thin skin and blood right underneath,an adequate stock of teeth and nails,its ...

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Birthday by Wislawa Szymborska

Birthday by Wislawa Szymborska

Birthday So much world all at once – how it rustles and bustles!Moraines and morays and morasses and mussels,The flame, the flamingo, the flounder, the feather –How to line them ...

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Children Of Our Age by Wislawa Szymborska

Children Of Our Age by Wislawa Szymborska

We are children of our age,it's a political age.All day long, all through the night,all affairs--yours, ours, theirs--are political affairs.Whether you like it or not,your genes ...

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Advertisement by Wislawa Szymborska

Advertisement by Wislawa Szymborska

I’m a tranquilizer.I’m effective at home.I work in the office.I can take examson the witness stand.I mend broken cups with care.All you have to do is take me,let me melt beneath ...

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First Love by Wislawa Szymborska

First Love by Wislawa Szymborska

They saythe first love is the most important.That's very romanticbut it's not the case with me.There was something between us yet there wasn't.It transpired and expired.My hands ...

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The Silence Of Plants by Wislawa Szymborska

The Silence Of Plants by Wislawa Szymborska

The Silence of PlantsA one-sided relationship is developing quite well between you and me.I know what a leaf, petal, kernel, cone, and stem are,and I know what happens to you in ...

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Poetry Reading by Wislawa Szymborska

Poetry Reading by Wislawa Szymborska

Poetry ReadingTo be a boxer, or not to be thereat all. O Muse, where are our teeming crowds? Twelve people in the room, eight seats to spareit's time to start this cultural ...

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The End And The Beginning by Wislawa Szymborska

The End And The Beginning by Wislawa Szymborska

After every warsomeone has to clean up.Things won’tstraighten themselves up, after all.Someone has to push the rubbleto the side of the road,so the corpse-filled wagonscan ...

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Negative by Wislawa Szymborska

Negative by Wislawa Szymborska

Negative Against a grayisch skya grayer cloudrimmed black by the sun. On the left, that is, the right,a white cherry branch with black blossoms. Light shadows on your dark ...

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Could Have by Wislawa Szymborska

Could Have by Wislawa Szymborska

It could have happened.It had to happen.It happened earlier. Later.Nearer. Farther off.It happened, but not to you.You were saved because you were the first.You were saved because ...

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The Joy Of Writing by Wislawa Szymborska

The Joy Of Writing by Wislawa Szymborska

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods? For a drink of written water from a spring whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle? Why does she lift her head; does ...

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Nothing Twice by Wislawa Szymborska

Nothing Twice by Wislawa Szymborska

Nothing can ever happen twice.In consequence, the sorry fact isthat we arrive here improvisedand leave without the chance to practice. Even if there is no one dumber,if you're the ...

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Identification by Wislawa Szymborska

Identification by Wislawa Szymborska

It’s good you came—she says.You heard a plane crashed on Thursday?Well so they came to see meabout it.The story is he was on the passenger list.So what, he might have changed his ...

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Pi by Wislawa Szymborska

Pi by Wislawa Szymborska

The admirable number pi: three point one four one. All the following digits are also initial, five nine two because it never ends. It can't be comprehended six five three five at ...

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Dreams by Wislawa Szymborska

Dreams by Wislawa Szymborska

Despite the geologists’ knowledge and craft,mocking magnets, graphs, and maps—in a split second the dreampiles before us mountains as stonyas real life.And since mountains, then ...

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Some People by Wislawa Szymborska

Some People by Wislawa Szymborska

Some people fleeing some other people. In some country under the sun and some clouds. They leave behind some of their everything, sown fields, some chickens, dogs, mirrors in ...

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A ‘Thank You’ Note by Wislawa Szymborska

A ‘Thank You’ Note by Wislawa Szymborska

There is much I oweto those I do not love.The relief in acceptingthey are closer to another.Joy that I am notthe wolf to their sheep.My peace be with themfor with them I am ...

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A Great Man’s House by Wislawa Szymborska

A Great Man’s House by Wislawa Szymborska

It was written in marble in golden letters:here a great man lived and worked and died.He laid the gravel for these paths personally.This bench — do not touch — he chiseled by ...

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Clouds by Wislawa Szymborska

Clouds by Wislawa Szymborska

CloudsI’d have to be really quickto describe clouds -a split second’s enoughfor them to start being something else.Their trademark:they don’t repeat a single shape, shade, pose, ...

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Consolation by Wislawa Szymborska

Consolation by Wislawa Szymborska

Darwin.They say he read novels to relax,But only certain kinds:nothing that ended unhappily.If anything like that turned up,enraged, he flung the book into the fire. True or ...

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Hatred by Wislawa Szymborska

Hatred by Wislawa Szymborska

See how efficient it still is,how it keeps itself in shape—our century's hatred.How easily it vaults the tallest obstacles.How rapidly it pounces, tracks us down.It's not like ...

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Two Monkeys by Brueghel by Wislawa Szymborska

Two Monkeys by Brueghel by Wislawa Szymborska

I keep dreaming of my graduation exam:in a window sit two chained monkeys,beyond the window floats the sky,and the sea splashes.I am taking an exam on the history of mankind:I ...

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Vermeer by Wislawa Szymborska

Vermeer by Wislawa Szymborska

As long as the woman from Rijksmuseumin painted silence and concentrationday after day pours milkfrom the jug to the bowl,the World does not deservethe end of the world.

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Photograph From September 11 by Wislawa Szymborska

Photograph From September 11 by Wislawa Szymborska

They jumped from the burning floors—one, two, a few more,higher, lower.The photograph halted them in life,and now keeps them above the earth toward the earth.Each is still ...

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Going Home by Wislawa Szymborska

Going Home by Wislawa Szymborska

He came home. Said nothing. It was clear, though, that something had gone wrong. He lay down fully dressed. Pulled the blanket over his head. Tucked up his knees. He's nearly ...

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Utopia by Wislawa Szymborska

Utopia by Wislawa Szymborska

Island where all becomes clear.Solid ground beneath your feet.The only roads are those that offer access.Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.The Tree of Valid Supposition ...

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