Thursday, October 20, 2011

880. Writing A Curriculum Vita - Wislawa Szymborska

Writing A Curriculum Vita (1)
Translated from Polish by Graźyna Drabik and Austin Flint

What must you do?
You must submit an application
and enclose a Curriculum Vitae.

Regardless of how long your life is,
the Curriculum Vitae should be short.

Be concise, select facts.
Change landscapes into addresses
and vague memories into fixed dates.

Of all your loves, mention only the marital,
and of the children, only those who were born.

It's more important who knows you
than whom you know.
Travels––only if abroad.
Affiliations––to what, not why.
Awards––but not for what.

Write as if you never talked with yourself,
as if you looked at yourself from afar.

Omit dogs, cats, and birds,
mementos, friends, dreams.

State price rather than value,
title rather than content.
Shoe size, not where one is going,
the one you are supposed to be.

Enclose a photo with one ear showing.
What counts is its shape, not what it hears.

What does it hear?
The clatter of machinery that shreds paper.

Writing A Résumé (2)
Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

What needs to be done?
fill out the application
and enclose the résumé.

Regardless of the length of life,
a résumé is best kept short.

concise, well-chosen facts are de rigueur.
Landscapes are replaced by addresses,
shaky memories give way to unshakable dates.

Of all your loves, mention only the marriage;
of all your children, only those who were born.

Who knows you matters more than whom you know.
Trips only if taken abroad.
Memberships in what but without why.
Honors, but not how they were earned.

Write as if you'd never talked to yourself
and always kept yourself at arm's length.

Pass over in silence your dogs, cats, birds,
dusty keepsakes, friends, and dreams.

Price, not worth,
and title, not what's inside.
His shoe size, not where he's off to,
that one you pass off as yourself.
In addition, a photograph with one ear showing.
What matters is its shape, not what it hears.
What is there to hear, anyway?
The clatter of paper shredders.

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