Tuesday, March 20, 2007

364. The Turn of the Century - Wislawa Szyborska

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak

It was supposed to be better than the rest, our twentieth century,
But it won't have time to prove it.
Its years are numbered,
its step unsteady,
its breath short.

Already too much has happened
that was not supposed to happen.
What was to come
has yet to come.

Spring was to be on its way,
and happiness, among other things.

Fear was to leave the mountains and valleys.
The truth was supposed to finish before the lie.

Certain misfortunes
were never to happen again
such as war and hunger and so forth.

The defenselessness of the defenseless,
was going to be respected.
Same for trust and the like.

Whoever wanted to enjoy the world
faces an impossible task.

Stupidity is not funny.
Wisdom is not cheerful.

is no longer the same young girl
et cetera. Alas.

God was at last to believe in man:
good and strong,
But good and strong
are still two different people.

How to live--someone asked me in a letter,
someone I had wanted
to ask the very same thing.

Again and as always,
and as seen above
there are no questions more urgent
than the naive ones.

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