Monday, March 30, 2015

Word of the Week - 56

 Wislawa Szymborska

Word of the Week:  POSSIBILITIES

Here, giving the broadest possible definition for this week's word, is the poem by Polish poet and translator Wislawa Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012). In 1996, Szymborska was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.” Upon announcing the prize, the Nobel commission noted her reputation as “the Mozart of poetry” but aptly added that there is also “something of the fury of Beethoven in her creative work.”

"To me, she is nothing short of Bach, that great cosmologist of the human spirit."  (this quote from Maria Popova, creator of BRAIN PICKINGS where writer and musician Amanda Palmer may be heard reading POSSIBILITIES.)

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.


Kass said...

She's a remarkable poet. I'm glad so many people are appreciating her.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - I agree. I always find something to savor and share at BRAIN PICKINGS. My admiration for poet-translators is without measure. Finding the right words in one's only language is challenge enough. xo

Barbara said...

I'd like to write some of her lines right on the walls of a long hallway. Lovely.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Barbara - A fine idea, or perhaps I'd pick one to write on the front door (against apartment rules, I'm sure). I suspect poets have always been among the gods. xo

Radish King said...

What an absolutely perfect poem for today thank you dear heart Marylinn

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - You are so welcome. Perfect timing is so inadvertent. xo

Charlotte Hildebrand said...

What a poem! What a poet! Selfishly i think, "i wish i could write like that!" Thank you for posting Marylinn!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Charlotte - Thank you, so glad you saw this. Isn't she, well, the bomb? Wish I could write like that, too. I am so grateful there are those who can. xo