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Author Archive for Wislawa Szymborska

Poem: "On Death, without Exaggeration"
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Poem: “On Death, without Exaggeration”

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On Death, without Exaggeration 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 […]

Poem: "Children of Our Age"
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Poem: “Children of Our Age”

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Children of Our Age (Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh) 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 […]

Poem: "The End and the Beginning"
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Poem: “The End and the Beginning”

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The End and the Beginning (Translation by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh) After every war someone has to tidy up. Things won’t pick themselves up, after all. Someone has to shove the rubble to the roadsides so the carts loaded with corpses can get by. Someone has to trudge through sludge and ashes, through the […]

Poem: "Cat in an Empty Apartment"
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Poem: “Cat in an Empty Apartment”

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Cat in an Empty Apartment Die—you can’t do that to a cat. Since what can a cat do in an empty apartment? Climb the walls? Rub up against the furniture? Nothing seems different here but nothing is the same. Nothing’s been moved but there’s more space. And at nighttime no lamps are lit. Footsteps on […]

Poem: "The Three Oddest Words"
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Poem: “The Three Oddest Words”

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The Three Oddest Words 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 no non-being can hold. Wislawa Szymborska

Poem: "A Few Words on the Soul"
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Poem: “A Few Words on the Soul”

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A Few Words on the Soul (Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh) We have a soul at times. No one’s got it non-stop, for keeps. Day after day, year after year may pass without it. Sometimes it will settle for awhile only in childhood’s fears and raptures. Sometimes only in astonishment that we are […]