A Word On Statistics By Wisława Szymborska

A Word On Statistics By Wisława Szymborska Out of every hundred people those who always know better:fifty-two. Unsure of every step:almost all the rest. Ready to help,if it doesn’t take long:forty-nine. Always good,because they cannot be otherwise:four—well, maybe five. Able to admire without envy:eighteen. Led to errorby youth (which passes):sixty, plus or minus. Those not to be messed with:forty and four. Living in […]

Photograph From September 11 By Wisława Szymborska

Photograph From September 11 By Wisława Szymborska Translated By Clare Cavanagh They jumped from the burning floors—one, two, a few more,higher, lower. The photograph halted them in life,and now keeps them   above the earth toward the earth. Each is still complete,with a particular faceand blood well hidden. There’s enough timefor hair to come loose,for keys and coinsto fall from […]

Identification By Wisława Szymborska

Identification By Wisława Szymborska Translated By Clare Cavanagh And Stanislaw Baranczak It’s good you came—she says.You heard a plane crashed on Thursday?Well so they came to see meabout it.The story is he was on the passenger list.So what, he might have changed his mind.They gave me some pills so I wouldn’t fall apart.Then they showed […]

The End And The Beginning By Wisława Szymborska

The End And The Beginning By Wisława Szymborska Translated By Joanna Trzeciak After every warsomeone has to clean up.Things won’tstraighten themselves up, after all. Someone has to push the rubbleto the side of the road,so the corpse-filled wagonscan pass. Someone has to get miredin scum and ashes,sofa springs,splintered glass,and bloody rags. Someone has to drag in a girderto […]

Dreams By Wisława Szymborska

Dreams By Wisława Szymborska Translated By Clare Cavanagh And Stanislaw Baranczak Despite the geologists’ knowledge and craft,mocking magnets, graphs, and maps—in a split second the dreampiles before us mountains as stonyas real life. And since mountains, then valleys, plainswith perfect infrastructures.Without engineers, contractors, workers,bulldozers, diggers, or supplies—raging highways, instant bridges,thickly populated pop-up cities. Without directors, megaphones, and […]

Consolation By Wisława Szymborska

Consolation By Wisława Szymborska Translated By Clare Cavanagh Darwin.They say he read novels to relax,But only certain kinds:nothing that ended unhappily.If anything like that turned up,enraged, he flung the book into the fire. True or not,I’m ready to believe it. Scanning in his mind so many times and places,he’d had enough of dying species,the triumphs of the […]

Advertisement By Wisława Szymborska

Advertisement By Wisława Szymborska Translated By Stanislaw Baranczak I’m a tranquilizer.I’m effective at home.I work in the office.I can take examson the witness stand.I mend broken cups with care.All you have to do is take me,let me melt beneath your tongue,just gulp mewith a glass of water. I know how to handle misfortune,how to take bad […]