Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Ball, a poem by Wislawa Szymborska.

Post 641 - Here's a poem by the Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska. which was published in the New Yorker in 2003. From Monologue of a Dog: New Poems, translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh.


As long as nothing can be known for sure (no signals have been picked up yet), as long as Earth is still unlike the nearer and more distant planets, as long as there’s neither hide nor hair of other grasses graced by other winds, of other treetops bearing other crowns, other animals as well-grounded as our own, as long as only the local echo has been known to speak in syllables, as long as we still haven’t heard the word of better or worse mozarts, platos, edisons, elsewhere, as long as our inhuman crimes are still committed only between humans, as long as our kindness is still incomparable, peerless even in its imperfection, as long as our heads packed with illusions still pass for the only heads so packed, as long as the roofs of our mouths alone still raise voices to high heavens – let’s act like very special guests of honour at the district firemen’s ball, dance to the beat of the local oompah band and pretend that it’s the ball to end all balls. I can’t speak for other – for me this is misery and happiness enough: just this sleepy backwater where even the stars have time to burn while winking at us unintentionally.

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