On the passing of Wislawa Szymborska

I love that when she was asked why she had published so few poems, she said: "I have a trash can in my home."

Here's a poem of hers:

Nothing Twice 
by Wislawa Szymborska 
translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

Nothing can ever happen twice. 
In consequence, the sorry fact is 
that we arrive here improvised 
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber, 
if you're the planet's biggest dunce, 
you can't repeat the class in summer: 
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday, 
no two nights will teach what bliss is 
in precisely the same way, 
with precisely the same kisses.

One day, perhaps some idle tongue 
mentions your name by accident: 
I feel as if a rose were flung 
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you're here with me, 
I can't help looking at the clock: 
A rose? A rose? What could that be? 
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day 
with so much needless fear and sorrow? 
It's in its nature not to stay: 
Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer 
to seek accord beneath our star, 
although we're different (we concur) 
just as two drops of water are.

 

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