Wednesday, October 01, 2008

726. May 16,1973 -Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from the Polish by Walter Whipple

One of those many dates
which no longer say anything to me.

Where I went that day,
what I did––I don't know.

If a crime was committed nearby
––I'd have no alibi.

The sun shone and set
without my noticing.
The earth rotated
without mention in my notebook.

It would be easier for me to think
that I died for a while
than to admit that I remember nothing,
although I was alive the whole time.

After all I was not a ghost,
I breathed and ate,
took steps
which were audible,
and left fingerprints
on the doorknobs. I was reflected in the mirror.
I wore something of a certain color.
I'm sure several people saw me.
Perhaps on that day I found something I had lost earlier,
or lost something which was later found.

Feelings and impressions filled me.
Now all that
is like dots inside parentheses.

Where I hid,
where I hung out ––
it's not a bad trick
to vanish from my own sight.

I'll jog my memory ––
maybe something in its recesses
which has been dormant for years
will awaken with a start.

I am most clearly demanding too much,
though but a second of time.