Wislawa Szymborska, “Love at First Sight”

Love at First Sight (from mission.net) Wislawa Szymborska (tr. Walter Whipple) Both are convinced that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together. Beautiful is such a certainty, but uncertainty is more beautiful. Because they didn’t know each other earlier, they suppose that nothing was happening between them. What of the streets, stairways and corridors […]

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Wislawa Szymborska, “Metaphysics”

Metaphysics Wislawa Szymborska (tr. Clare Cavanagh & Stanislaw Barańczak) It’s been and gone. It’s been, so it’s gone. In the same irreversible order, for such is the rule of this foregone game. A trite conclusion, not worth writing if it weren’t an unquestionable fact, a fact for ever and ever, for the whole cosmos, as […]

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Wislawa Szymborska, “Vermeer”

Vermeer Wislawa Szymborska (tr. Clare Cavanagh & Stanislaw Barańczak) So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum in painted quiet and concentration keeps pouring milk day after day from the pitcher to the bowl the World hasn’t earned the world’s end. Comment: Not even our age, with a supposed concern for rights, a profession to […]

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Charles Simic, “In the Street”

In the Street Charles Simic Beauty, dark goddess, We met and parted As though we parted not. Like two stopped watches In a dusty store window, One golden morning of time. Comment: Weird, this maturity thing. Adolescent desire and all the desperate, stupid thought accompanying should fall away, no? Yet it doesn’t seem to work […]

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Seamus Heaney, “North”

North (from Poetry) Seamus Heaney I returned to a long strand, the hammered curve of a bay, and found only the secular powers of the Atlantic thundering. I faced the unmagical invitations of Iceland, the pathetic colonies of Greenland, and suddenly those fabulous raiders, those lying in Orkney and Dublin measured against their long swords […]

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Kay Ryan, “Why We Must Struggle”

Why We Must Struggle (from Poetry) Kay Ryan If we have not struggled as hard as we can at our strongest how will we sense the shape of our losses or know what sustains us longest or name what change costs us saying how strange it is that one sector of the self can step […]

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