Dreams are featherweights, and memory can shake them off with ease. The real world doesn’t have to fear forgetfulness. It’s a tough customer. It sits on our shoulders, weights on our hearts, tumbles to our feet. There’s no escaping it, it tags along each time we flee. And there’s no stop along our escape route… Continue reading Wisława Szymborska
No sleep, not tonight. The window blazes. Over the city, fireworks soar and explode. No sleep: too much has gone on. Rows of books stand vigil above you. You’ll brood on what’s happened and what hasn’t. No sleep, not tonight. Your inflamed eyelids will rebel, your fiery eyes sting, your heart swell with remembrance. No… Continue reading Adam Zagajewski
Everything the dead predicted has turned out completely different. Or a little bit different—which is to say, completely different. — Wisława Szymborska, from “The Letters of the Dead,” Wszelki wypadek. (1972)
Poetry– but what sort of thing is poetry? More than one shaky answer has been given to this question. But I do not know and do not know and clutch on to it, as to a saving bannister. — Wislawa Szymborska, from “Some Like Poetry,” The New Yorker: October 21, 1996 Issue.
The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will. — Czeslaw Milosz, from “Ars Poetica?,” The Collected Poems: 1931-1987 (The Ecco Press, 1988)
Yes, even when I don’t believe— there is a place in me inaccessible to unbelief, a patch of wild grace, a stubborn preserve, impenetrable, pain untouched by the sleeping body, music that builds its nest in silence. — Anna Kamienska, “Lack of Faith,” Astonishments: Selected Poems of Anna Kamienska. Paraclete Press (MA); First Edition edition… Continue reading Anna Kamienska
Even a passing moment has its fertile past, its Friday before Saturday, its May before June. — Wisława Szymborska, from “No Title Required,” Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh, (Harcourt Brace & Co., 1998)