Thursday, January 03, 2008

567. Poem In Honor Of - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from Polish by Graźyna Drabik and Austin Flint

Once upon a time he was. He invented zero.
In a certain country. Under a star
that by now may have burned out. Between dates
nobody could swear to. Without a name
even to dispute. Beneath his zero
he left no golden thought about life
which is like . . . . Nor a legend
that one day he picked up a rose,
added a zero and tied them into a bouquet
That when he was to die, he rode off into the desert
on a camel of a hundred humps. That he fell asleep
in the shade of the palm of victory. That he will
wake up when everything is counted
to the last grain of sand. What a man.
Through the crack between fact and fiction
he escaped our attention. Resistant
to every fate. He throws off
any form I attempt to give him.
Silence grew over him, leaving not even the scar of a voice.
Absence assumed the shape of a horizon.
Zero writes itself.

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