31 January 2008

Wislawa Szymborska

[from Wislawa Szymborska's Monologue of a Dog, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak, 2006]


I remember that childhood fear well,
I avoided puddles,
especially fresh ones, after showers.
One of them might be bottomless, after all,
even though it looks just like the rest.

I'll step and suddenly be swallowed whole,
I'll start rising downwards
then even deeper down
towards the reflected clouds
and maybe farther.

Then the puddle will dry up,
shut above me,
I'm trapped for good -- where --
with a shout that never made it to the surface.

Understanding came only later:
not all misadventures
fit within the world's laws
and even if they wanted to,
they couldn't happen.

Monologue of a Dog

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