Winter 1998 • Vol. XX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1998 |

A Thank-You Note

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak I owe a lot to those I do not love. The release in accepting they are closer to other people. Joy that I am not wolf to their sheep. My peace be with them for with them I am free, --something love can neither give, nor know how to take. I don't wait for them from window to door. Almost as patient as a sun dial, I understand what love does not understand. I forgive what love would never have forgiven. Between rendezvous and letter no eternity passes, only a few days or weeks. My trips with them always turn out well. Concerts are heard. Cathedrals are toured. Landscapes are distinct. And when seven rivers and mountains come between us, they are rivers and mountains well-known from the map. It is thanks to them that I live in three dimensions, in a non-lyrical and non-rhetorical space, with a shifting, thus real, horizon. They don't even know how much they carry in their empty hands. "I don't owe

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Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her poetry is full of wisdom, wit, and a haunting, surreal quality. One of her major themes is differentness, or otherness: the lack of mutual comprehension between different conditions, species, kinds of matter.

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