View With A Grain Of Sand
eBook - ePub

View With A Grain Of Sand

Selected Poems

Wislawa Szymborska

  1. 224 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

View With A Grain Of Sand

Selected Poems

Wislawa Szymborska

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Book preview
Table of contents

About This Book

From one of Europe's most prominent and celebrated poets, a collection remarkable for its graceful lyricism. With acute irony tempered by a generous curiosity, Szymborska documents life's improbability as well as its transient beauty to capture the wonder of existence. Preface by Mark Strand. Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh, winners of the PEN Translation Prize.

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One Version of Events

If we’d been allowed to choose,
we’d probably have gone on forever.

The bodies that were offered didn’t fit,
and wore out horribly.

The ways of sating hunger
made us sick.
We were repelled
by blind heredity
and the tyranny of glands.

The world that was meant to embrace us
decayed without end
and the effects of causes raged over it.

Individual fates
were presented for our inspection:
appalled and grieved,
we rejected most of them.

Questions naturally arose, e.g.,
who needs the painful birth
of a dead child
and what’s in it for a sailor
who will never reach the shore.

We agreed to death,
but not to every kind.
Love attracted us,
of course, but only love
that keeps its word.

Both fickle standards
and the impermanence of artworks
kept us wary of the Muses’ service.

Each of us wished to have a homeland
free of neighbors
and to live his entire life
in the intervals between wars.

No one wished to seize power
or to be subject to it.
No one wanted to fall victim
to his own or others’ delusions.
No one volunteered
for crowd scenes and processions,
to say nothing of dying tribes—
although without all these
history couldn’t run its charted course
through centuries to come.

Meanwhile, a fair number
of stars lit earlier
had died out and grown cold.
It was high time for a decision.

Voicing numerous reservations,
candidates finally emerged
for a number of roles as healers and explorers,
a few obscure philosophers,
one or two nameless gardeners,
artistes and virtuosos—
though even these livings
couldn’t all be filled
for lack of other kinds of applications.

It was time to think
the whole thing over.

We’d been offered a trip
from which we’d surely be returning soon,
wouldn’t we.

A trip outside eternity—
monotonous, no matter what they say,
and foreign to time’s flow.
The chance may never come our way again.
We were besieged by doubts—
does knowing everything beforehand
really mean knowing everything.

Is a decision made in advance

Table of contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Copyright
  5. Brueghel’s Two Monkeys
  6. Notes from a Nonexistent Himalayan Expedition
  7. Nothing Twice
  8. SALT
  9. Museum
  10. A Moment in Troy
  11. Clochard
  12. Vocabulary
  13. Travel Elegy
  14. An Unexpected Meeting
  15. Rubens’ Women
  16. Coloratura
  17. Bodybuilders’ Contest
  18. Poetry Reading
  19. The Tower of Babel
  20. Water
  21. Conversation with a Stone
  23. The Joy of Writing
  24. Landscape
  25. Family Album
  26. The Railroad Station
  27. Born
  28. Soliloquy for Cassandra
  29. A Byzantine Mosaic
  30. Beheading
  31. Pietà
  32. Returning Birds
  33. Thomas Mann
  34. Tarsier
  35. The Acrobat
  36. A Palaeolithic Fertility Fetish
  37. No End Of Fun
  39. Could Have
  40. Theatre Impressions
  41. Voices
  42. The Letters of the Dead
  43. Advertisement
  44. Going Home
  45. Discovery
  46. Dinosaur Skeleton
  47. Birthday
  48. Allegro ma non troppo
  49. Autotomy
  50. Frozen Motion
  51. The Classic
  52. In Praise of Dreams
  53. True Love
  54. Under One Small Star
  56. A Large Number
  57. Thank-You Note
  58. Psalm
  59. Lot’s Wife
  60. Seen from Above
  61. Experiment
  62. Smiles
  63. The Terrorist, He’s Watching
  64. A Medieval Miniature
  65. In Praise of My Sister
  66. Hermitage
  67. Evaluation of an Unwritten Poem
  68. Warning
  69. The Onion
  70. The Suicide’s Room
  71. In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself
  72. On the Banks of the Styx
  73. Utopia
  74. Pi
  76. Archeology
  77. View with a Grain of Sand
  78. Clothes
  79. On Death, without Exaggeration
  80. In Broad Daylight
  81. Our Ancestors’ Short Lives
  82. Hitler’s First Photograph
  83. The Century’s Decline
  84. Children of Our Age
  85. Tortures
  86. Plotting with the Dead
  87. Writing a Résumé
  88. Funeral
  89. An Opinion on the Question of Pornography
  90. A Tale Begun
  91. Into the Ark
  92. Miracle Fair
  93. The People on the Bridge
  95. Sky
  96. No Title Required
  97. The End and the Beginning
  98. Hatred
  99. Reality Demands
  100. Elegiac Calculation
  101. Cat in an Empty Apartment
  102. Parting with a View
  103. Séance
  104. Love at First Sight
  105. May 16, 1973
  106. Maybe All This
  107. Slapstick
  108. Nothing’s a Gift
  109. One Version of Events
  110. We’re Extremely Fortunate
  111. About the Author
  112. Footnotes