Consolation Poem by Wislawa Szymborska


Rating: 3.4

They say he read novels to relax,
But only certain kinds:
nothing that ended unhappily.
If anything like that turned up,
enraged, he flung the book into the fire.

True or not,
I’m ready to believe it.

Scanning in his mind so many times and places,
he’d had enough of dying species,
the triumphs of the strong over the weak,
the endless struggles to survive,
all doomed sooner or later.
He’d earned the right to happy endings,
at least in fiction
with its diminutions.

Hence the indispensable
silver lining,
the lovers reunited, the families reconciled,
the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded,
fortunes regained, treasures uncovered,
stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways,
good names restored, greed daunted,
old maids married off to worthy parsons,
troublemakers banished to other hemispheres,
forgers of documents tossed down the stairs,
seducers scurrying to the altar,
orphans sheltered, widows comforted,
pride humbled, wounds healed over,
prodigal sons summoned home,
cups of sorrow thrown into the ocean,
hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation,
general merriment and celebration,
and the dog Fido,
gone astray in the first chapter,
turns up barking gladly
in the last.

Laurie Van Der Hart 18 May 2017

I wish Wislawa was able to reply to her comments. Maybe one day... Like all her poems, I love this one. So off-beat and yet bang on target. I love how she undoes all the wrongs and sadnesses. And to think that there IS a book which starts off with all the evils happening, and Fido going astray, but which concludes with the evils being rectified, the Tree of Life becoming available, and all tears and even death being done away with. And it's a true story.

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Ruta Mohapatra 27 July 2019

Yeah! We all want a happy ending. Thanks for sharing!

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Bernard F. Asuncion 27 July 2019

A well penned poem by Wislawa Szymborska...

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Edward Kofi Louis 27 July 2019

Cups of sorrow thrown into the ocean! ! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Douglas Scotney 27 July 2019

'Fido', from the Latin for 'faithful'

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Savita Tyagi 27 July 2019

Great poem. Enjoyed reading it. Glad to know that Darwin read happyending novels. Weak and meek do exist along with bold and strong, and none's existence is everlasting.

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Kumarmani Mahakul 27 July 2019

It is a nice piece of work by Wislawa Szymborska.

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Ratnakar Mandlik 27 July 2019

An amazing composition on Darwin and his liking for particular type of books has made the theme most innovative and worthy of selection as modern poem of the Day.

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Great poem by a great poet

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