Treasure Island

Wislawa Szymborska

(2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012 / Prowent)

Clouds


Clouds

I’d have to be really quick
to describe clouds -
a split second’s enough
for them to start being something else.

Their trademark:
they don’t repeat a single
shape, shade, pose, arrangement.

Unburdened by memory of any kind,
they float easily over the facts.

What on earth could they bear witness to?
They scatter whenever something happens.

Compared to clouds,
life rests on solid ground,
practically permanent, almost eternal.

Next to clouds
even a stone seems like a brother,
someone you can trust,
while they’re just distant, flighty cousins.

Let people exist if they want,
and then die, one after another:
clouds simply don't care
what they're up to
down there.

And so their haughty fleet
cruises smoothly over your whole life
and mine, still incomplete.

They aren't obliged to vanish when we're gone.
They don't have to be seen while sailing on.

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh


CHMURY

Z opisywaniem chmur
musiałabym się bardzo śpieszyć -
już po ułamku chwili
przestają być te, zaczynają być inne.

Ich właściwością jest
nie powtarzać się nigdy
w kształtach, odcieniach, pozach i układzie.

Nie obciążone pamięcią o niczym,
unoszą się bez trudu nad faktami.

Jacy tam z nich świadkowie czegokolwiek -
natychmiast rozwiewają się na wszystkie strony.

W porównaniu z chmurami
życie wydaje się ugruntowane,
omalże trwałe i prawie że wieczne.

Przy chmurach
nawet kamień wygląda jak brat,
na którym można polegać,
a one, cóż, dalekie i płoche kuzynki.

Niech sobie ludzie będą, jeśli chcą,
a potem po kolei każde z nich umiera,
im, chmurom nic do tego
wszystkiego
bardzo dziwnego.

Nad całym Twoim życiem
i moim, jeszcze nie całym,
paradują w przepychu, jak paradowały.

Nie mają obowiązku razem z nami ginąć.
Nie muszą być widziane, żeby płynąć.

Submitted: Friday, February 03, 2012

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  • Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan (4/13/2013 1:44:00 PM)

    This poem shows why she is a pre-eminent poet of our times! ! When she started writing poetry, the sale of novels and story books came down in Poland. (Report) Reply

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