Wislawa Szymborska

(2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012 / Prowent)

A 'Thank You' Note - Poem by Wislawa Szymborska

There is much I owe
to those I do not love.
The relief in accepting
they are closer to another.
Joy that I am not
the wolf to their sheep.
My peace be with them
for with them I am free,
and this, love can neither give,
nor know how to take.
I don't wait for them
from window to door.
Almost as patient
as a sun dial,
I understand
what love does not understand.
I forgive
what love would never have forgiven.
Between rendezvous and letter
no eternity passes,
only a few days or weeks.
My trips with them always turn out well.
Concerts are heard.
Cathedrals are toured.
Landscapes are distinct.
And when seven rivers and mountains
come between us,
they are rivers and mountains
well known from any map.
It is thanks to them
that I live in three dimensions,
in a non-lyrical and non-rhetorical space,
with a shifting, thus real, horizon.
They don't even know
how much they carry in their empty hands.
'I don't owe them anything',
love would have said
on this open topic.

Topic(s) of this poem: thank you


Comments about A 'Thank You' Note by Wislawa Szymborska

  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage Jayatissa K. Liyanage (6/5/2016 11:55:00 PM)


    This can happen to anyone engaged in the business of love. Let's be aware of i and act sensibly. Excellent write, very much thought provoking. Poem deserves it's positioning. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

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  • Milos Jovanka (6/5/2016 4:15:00 PM)


    In the end Karmatic laws reverberate in life, she has learned to let go of her oppressors cruelty, she knows who she is and does not need anyone to judge her. An AMAZING poem! (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (6/5/2016 3:07:00 PM)


    That was a thought that had never occurred to me, at least in such a logical reasoned way. It really has merit. Love does inherently come with chains... of duty, of hurtability [yes I know it's not a word], of keeping track of who owes who what. At first I was taken aback, but the more I think about it... yes, love can be a burden in its accountability. (Report) Reply

  • Briony Nicholls Briony Nicholls (6/5/2016 9:43:00 AM)


    I was so terribly moved by the brilliant message this poem imparts to us. I think anyone who finds themselves utterly alone in their existence should read this amazing little gem. Szymborska was a great philosophical poet. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (6/5/2016 7:38:00 AM)


    Thanks for sharing, 'I don't owe them anything',
    love would have said
    on this open topic. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (6/5/2016 3:56:00 AM)


    I forgive what love would never have forgiven! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Akachukwu Lekwauwa Akachukwu Lekwauwa (6/5/2016 1:05:00 AM)


    yea, quite a fact, the absence of feeling indebted makes you so real with them (Report) Reply

  • Tapan M. Saren Tapan M. Saren (5/28/2016 11:07:00 PM)


    Truly a touching poem... (Report) Reply

  • David Wood David Wood (8/26/2015 5:41:00 AM)


    A very warm thought provoking poem I enjoyed reading. (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Poem Edited: Thursday, August 27, 2015


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