Winter 1998 • Vol. XX No. 1 Poetry |


Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak I know that silence will greet me, and yet. No hubbub, no trumpets, no ovation, and yet. Neither bells of alarm, nor alarm itself. I'm not even counting on the merest crumb, not to mention silver palaces and gardens, venerable elders, equitable laws, wisdom in a crystal ball, and yet. I understand I'm not walking on the moon to look for rings, or for lost ribbons. They always take everything in time. There's nothing to indicate. Trash, junk, peels, scraps of paper, crumbs, shrapnel, shavings, shards, offal, scrap. Of course I only stoop to get a pebble which won't tell me where they went. They don't like to leave me any cues. In the art of erasing evidence, they are unrivaled. For ages I have known their talent for vanishing in time, their divine ability to elude grasp by horn, by tail, by hem of a gown billowing in flight.I will never touch a hair on their heads. Everywhere more cunning than I by a single tho

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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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