Sunday, February 12, 2012

886. Portrait Of A Woman - Wislawa Szymborska

Wislawa Szymborska - Portrait Of A Woman (1)
Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

She must be a variety.
Change so that nothing will change.
It's easy, impossible, tough going, worth a shot.
Her eyes are, as required, deep, blue, gray,
dark merry, full of pointless tears.
She sleeps with him as if she's first in line or the only one on earth.
She'll bear him four children, no children, one.
Naive, but gives the best advice.
Weak, but takes on anything.
A screw loose and tough as nails.
Curls up with Jasper or Ladies'Home Journal.
Can't figure out this bolt and builds a bridge.
Young, young as ever, still looking young.
Holds in her hand a baby sparrow with a broken wing,
her own money for some trip far away,
a meat cleaver, a compress, a glass of vodka.
Where's she running, isn't she exhausted.
Not a bit, a little, to death, it doesn't matter.
She must love him, or she's just plain stubborn.
For better, for worse, for heaven's sake.
Wislawa Szymborska - Portrait  Of A Woman (2)
Translated from the Polish by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert a. Maguire

She must be willing to please.
To change so that nothing should change.
It's easy, impossible, hard, worth trying.
Her eyes are if need be now deep blue, now gray,
dark, playful, filled for no reason with tears.
She sleeps with him like some chance acquaintance, like his one and only.
She will bear him four children, no children, one.
Naive yet giving the best advice.
Weak yet lifting the weightiest burdens.
Has no head on her shoulders but will have.
Reads Jaspers and ladies' magazines.
Doesn't know what this screw is for and will build a bridge.
Young, as usual young, as always still young.
Holds in her hands a sparrow with a broken wing,
her own money for a journey long and distant,
a meat-cleaver, poultice, and a shot of vodka.
Where is she running so, isn't she tired?
Not at all, just a bit, very much, doesn't matter.
Either she loves him or has made up her mind to.
For better, for worse, and for heaven's sake.

No comments: