Consolation Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

Consolation – Poem by Wislawa Szymborska

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 not,

I’m ready to believe it.

Scanning in his mind so many times and places,

he’d had enough of dying species,

the triumphs of the strong over the weak,

the endless struggles to survive,

all doomed sooner or later.

He’d earned the right to happy endings,

at least in fiction

with its diminutions.

Hence the indispensable

silver lining,

the lovers reunited, the families reconciled,

the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded,

fortunes regained, treasures uncovered,

stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways,

good names restored, greed daunted,

old maids married off to worthy parsons,

troublemakers banished to other hemispheres,

forgers of documents tossed down the stairs,

seducers scurrying to the altar,

orphans sheltered, widows comforted,

pride humbled, wounds healed over,

prodigal sons summoned home,

cups of sorrow thrown into the ocean,

hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation,

general merriment and celebration,

and the dog Fido,

gone astray in the first chapter,

turns up barking gladly

in the last.

On Death Without Exaggeration Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

On Death, Without Exaggeration – Poem 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 word,

which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done

that are part of its trade:

dig a grave,

make a coffin,

clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,

it does the job awkwardly,

without system or skill.

As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,

but look at its countless defeats,

missed blows,

and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough

to swat a fly from the air.

Many are the caterpillars

that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,

tentacles, fins, tracheae,

nuptial plumage, and winter fur

show that it has fallen behind

with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help

and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat

is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.

Babies’ skeletons grow.

Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves

and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent

is himself living proof

that it’s not.

There’s no life

that couldn’t be immortal

if only for a moment.


always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob

of the invisible door.

As far as you’ve come

can’t be undone.

Lots Wife Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

Lot’s Wife – Poem 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 staring at the righteous nape

of my husband Lot’s neck.

From the sudden conviction that if I dropped dead

he wouldn’t so much as hesitate.

From the disobedience of the meek.

Checking for pursuers.

Struck by the silence, hoping God had changed his mind.

Our two daughters were already vanishing over the hilltop.

I felt age within me. Distance.

The futility of wandering. Torpor.

I looked back setting my bundle down.

I looked back not knowing where to set my foot.

Serpents appeared on my path,

spiders, field mice, baby vultures.

They were neither good nor evil now–every living thing

was simply creeping or hopping along in the mass panic.

I looked back in desolation.

In shame because we had stolen away.

Wanting to cry out, to go home.

Or only when a sudden gust of wind

unbound my hair and lifted up my robe.

It seemed to me that they were watching from the walls of Sodom

and bursting into thunderous laughter again and again.

I looked back in anger.

To savor their terrible fate.

I looked back for all the reasons given above.

I looked back involuntarily.

It was only a rock that turned underfoot, growling at me.

It was a sudden crack that stopped me in my tracks.

A hamster on its hind paws tottered on the edge.

It was then we both glanced back.

No, no. I ran on,

I crept, I flew upward

until darkness fell from the heavens

and with it scorching gravel and dead birds.

I couldn’t breathe and spun around and around.

Anyone who saw me must have thought I was dancing.

It’s not inconceivable that my eyes were open.

It’s possible I fell facing the city.

Some People Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

Some People – Poem 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 which fire now sees itself reflected.

On their backs are pitchers and bundles,

the emptier, the heavier from one day to the next.

Taking place stealthily is somebody’s stopping,

and in the commotion, somebody’s bread somebody’s snatching

and a dead child somebody’s shaking.

In front of them some still not the right way,

nor the bridge that should be

over a river strangely rosy.

Around them, some gunfire, at times closer, at times farther off,

and, above, a plane circling somewhat.

Some invisibility would come in handy,

some grayish stoniness,

or even better, non-being

for a little or a long while.

Something else is yet to happen, only where and what?

Someone will head toward them, only when and who,

in how many shapes and with what intentions?

Given a choice,

maybe he will choose not to be the enemy and

leave them with some kind of life.

Jacy? ludzie

Jacy? ludzie w ucieczce przed jakimi? lud?mi.

W jakim? kraju pod s?o?cem

i niektórymi chmurami.

Zostawiaj? za sob? jakie? swoje wszystko,

obsiane pola, jakie? kury, psy,

lusterka, w których w?a?nie przegl?da si? ogie?.

Maj? na plecach dzbanki i tobo?ki,

im bardziej puste, tym z dnia na dzie? ci??sze.

Odbywa si? po cichu czyje? ustawanie,

a w zgie?ku czyje? komu? chleba wydzieranie

i czyje? martwym dzieckiem potrz?sanie.

Przed nimi jaka? wci?? nie t?dy droga,

nie ten, co trzeba most

nad rzek? dziwnie ró?ow?.

Doko?a jakie? strza?y, raz bli?ej, raz dalej,

w górze samolot troch? ko?uj?cy.

Przyda?aby si? jaka? niewidzialno??,

jaka? bura kamienno??,

a jeszcze lepiej nieby?o??

na pewien krótki czas albo i d?ugi.

Co? jeszcze si? wydarzy, tylko gdzie i co.

Kto? wyjdzie im naprzeciw, tylko kiedy, kto,

w ilu postaciach i w jakich zamiarach.

Je?li b?dzie mia? wybór,

mo?e nie zechce by? wrogiem

i pozostawi ich przy jakim? ?yciu.

Children Of Our Age Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

Children Of Our Age – Poem 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 have a political past,

your skin, a political cast,

your eyes, a political slant.

Whatever you say reverberates,

whatever you don’t say speaks for itself.

So either way you’re talking politics.

Even when you take to the woods,

you’re taking political steps

on political grounds.

Apolitical poems are also political,

and above us shines a moon

no longer purely lunar.

To be or not to be, that is the question.

And though it troubles the digestion

it’s a question, as always, of politics.

To acquire a political meaning

you don’t even have to be human.

Raw material will do,

or protein feed, or crude oil,

or a conference table whose shape

was quarreled over for months;

Should we arbitrate life and death

at a round table or a square one?

Meanwhile, people perished,

animals died,

houses burned,

and the fields ran wild

just as in times immemorial

and less political.

Under One Small Star Poem By Wislawa Szymborska

Under One Small Star – Poem by Wislawa Szymborska
My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.

My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all.

Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.

May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.

My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.

My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.

Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.

Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.

I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.

I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.

Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.

Pardon me, deserts, that I don’t rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.

And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,

your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,

forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.

My apologies to the felled tree for the table’s four legs.

My apologies to great questions for small answers.

Truth, please don’t pay me much attention.

Dignity, please be magnanimous.

Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.

Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.

My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.

My apologies to everyone that I can’t be each woman and each man.

I know I won’t be justified as long as I live,

since I myself stand in my own way.

Don’t bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,

then labor heavily so that they may seem light.