Wislawa Szymborska

(2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012 / Prowent)

Comments about Wislawa Szymborska

  • Rookie Justaname Parer (5/14/2005 4:55:00 AM)

    Hi,

    I have also seen 'Any case' translated like this:


    'Could have'

    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 you were the last.
    Alone. With others.
    On the right. On the left.
    Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
    Because the day was sunny.

    You were in luck - there was a forest.
    You were in luck - there were no trees.
    You were in luck - a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
    A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant...

    So you're here? Still dizzy from
    another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
    One hole in the net and you slipped through?
    I couldn't be more shocked or
    speechless.
    Listen,
    how your heart pounds inside me.

    Wislawa Szymborska, 'Could have', in View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems, trans. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh, Harcourt Brace & Company, New York,1996, pp.65-66.

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Lot's Wife

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.

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