Tuesday, October 23, 2007

512. A Poem In Honor Of - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak

Once, upon a time, invented zero.
In an uncertain country. Under a star
which may be dark by now. Bounded by dates,
but no one would swear to them. Without a name,
not even a contentious one. Leaving behind
no golden words beneath his zero
about life being like. Nor any legends:
that one day he appended zero
to a picked rose and tied it up into a bouquet;
that when he was about to die, he rode off into the desert
on a hundred-humped camel; that he fell asleep
in the shadow of the palm of primacy; that he will awaken
when everything has been counted,
down the last grain of sand. What a man
Slipping into the fissure between fact and fiction,
he has escaped our notice. Resistant
to every fate. He sheds
every form I give him.
Silence has closed over him, his voice leaving no scar.
The absence has taken on the look of the horizon,
Zero writes itself.

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