From the beautifully sharp Polish poet Wislawa Szymborsksa (1923-), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.
“Beneath One Little Star”
(translated by by Adam Czerniawski)
My apologies to the accidental for calling it necessary.
However apologies to necessity if I happen to by wrong.
Hope happiness won’t be angry if I claim it as my own.
May the dead forget they barely smolder in my remembrance.
Apologies to time for the abundance of the world missed every second.
Apologies to my old love for treating the new as the first.
Forgive me, distant wounds, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, that I prick my finger.
Apologies to those calling from the abyss for a record of a minuet.
Apologies to people catching trains for sleeping at dawn.
Pardon me, baited hope, for my sporadic laugh.
Pardon me, deserts, for not rushing with a spoonful of water;
And you too, hawk, unchanged in years, in that self-same cage.
Staring motionless, always at the self-same spot.
Forgive me, even if you are stuffed.
Apologies for the hewn tree for four table legs.
Apologies to the big questions for small replies.
Truth, don’t pay me too much attention.
Seriousness – be magnanimous.
Mystery of Being – suffer me to pluck threads from your train.
Soul – don’t blame me for having you but rarely.
Apologies to everyone for failing to be every him or her.
I know that while I live nothing can excuse me,
Since I am my own impediment.
Speech – don’t blame me for borrowing big words and
then struggling to make them light.