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Wislawa Szymborska

(2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012 / Prowent)

Negative


Negative

Against a grayisch sky
a grayer cloud
rimmed black by the sun.

On the left, that is, the right,
a white cherry branch with black blossoms.

Light shadows on your dark face.
You'd just taken a seat at the table
and put your hands, gone pray, upon it.

You look like a ghost
who's trying to summon up the living.

(And since I still number among them,
I should appear to him and tap:
good night, that is, good morning,
farewell, that is, hello.

And not grudge questions to any of his answers
concerning life,
that storm before the clam).

translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak
and Clare Cavanagh


Negatyw

Na niebie burym
chmurka jeszcze bardziej bura
z czarną obwódką słońca.

Na lewo, czyli na prawo,
biała gałąź czereśni z czarnymi kwiatami.

Na twojej ciemnej twarzy jasne cienie.
Zasiadłeś przy stoliku
i położyłeś na nim poszarzałe ręce.

Sprawiasz wrażenie ducha
który próbuje wywoływać żywych.

(ponieważ jeszcze zaliczam się do nich,
powinnam mu się zjawić i wystukać:
dobranoc , czyli dzień dobry,
żegnaj , czyli witaj.

I nie skąpić mu pytań na żadną odpowiedź,
jeśli dotyczą życia,
czyli burzy przed ciszą.)

Submitted: Friday, February 03, 2012

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