Monday, March 26, 2007

369. Any Case - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Father off.
It happened, but not to you.

You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. On the left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.

You were in luck - there was a forest.
You were in luck - there were no trees.
You were in luck - a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
a jam, a turn, a quarter inch, an instant.
You were in luck - just then a straw went floating by.

As a result, because, although, despite.
What would have happened if a hand, a foot,
within an inch, a hairsbreadth from
an unfortunate coincidence

So you're here? Still dizzy from another dodge, close shave,
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn't be more shocked or speechless.
how your heart pounds inside of me.

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