Saturday, January 04, 2014

962. A Thank-You Note - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak

I owe a lot
to those I do not love.

Relief in accepting
others care for them more.

Joy that I am not
wolf to their sheep.

Peace be with them
for with them I am free
––love neither gives
nor knows how to take these things.

I don't wait for them
from window to door.
Almost as patient
as a sun dial,
I understand
what love never could.
I forgive
what love never would.

Between rendezvous and letter
no eternity passes,
only a few days or weeks.

Our trips always turn out well:
concerts are enjoyed,
cathedrals toured,
landscapes in focus.

And when seven rivers and mountains
come between us,
they are the rivers and mountains
found on any map.

The credit's theirs
if I live in three dimensions,
in a non-lyrical and non-rhetorical space,
with a real, ever-shifting horizon.

They don't even know
how much they carry in their empty hands.

"I owe them nothing,"
love would have said
on this open topic.

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