Poetry Reading Poem by Wislawa Szymborska

Poetry Reading

Rating: 3.5

Poetry Reading

To be a boxer, or not to be there
at all. O Muse, where are our teeming crowds?
Twelve people in the room, eight seats to spare
it's time to start this cultural affair.
Half came inside because it started raining,
the rest are relatives. O Muse.

The women here would love to rant and rave,
but that's for boxing. Here they must behave.
Dante's Infemo is ringside nowadays.
Likewise his Paradise. O Muse.

Oh, not to be a boxer but a poet,
one sentenced to hard shelleying for life,
for lack of muscles forced to show the world
the sonnet that may make the high-school reading lists
with luck. O Muse,
O bobtailed angel, Pegasus.

In the first row, a sweet old man's soft snore:
he dreams his wife's alive again. What's more,
she's making him that tart she used to bake.
Aflame, but carefully-don't burn his cake!
we start to read. O Muse.

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh


Muzo, nie być bokserem to jest nie być wcale.
Ryczącej publiczności poskąpiłaś nam.
Dwanaście osób jest na sali,
już czas ,żebyśmy zaczynali.
Połowa przyszła, bo deszcz pada,
reszta to krewni. Muzo.

Kobiety rade zemdleć w ten jesienny wieczór,
zrobią to, ale tylko na bokserskim meczu.
dantejskie sceny tylko tam.
I wniebobranie. Muzo

Nie być bokserem, być poetą,
mieć wyrok skazujący na ciężkie norwidy,
z braku muskulatury demonstrować światu
przyszłą lekturę szkolną-w najszczęśliwszym razie-
o Muzo. O Pegazie,
aniele koński.

W pierwszym rządku staruszek slodko sobie śni,
że mu żona nieboszczka z grobu wstała i
upiecze staruszkowi placek ze śliwkami.
Z ogniem, ale niewielkim, bo placek się spali,
zaczynamy czytanie .Muzo.

Margaret O Driscoll 20 February 2016

Entertaining but true, enjoyable read

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Ratnakar Mandlik 30 January 2016

Mind blowing amusement and a bit realistic too. Thanks for sharing.10 points.

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Kingsley Egbukole 16 December 2019

Interesting poem. Most poets write to satisfy an inner craving regardless of whether there are readers or not.

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Dominic Windram 16 December 2019

Yes poetry reading...one's lucky if one receives an audience of more than 5. That's why I'm more than happy I'm now a resident poet on American reaching approximately 10,000 people...do I miss open mic slots in run down venues...not in the least! ! !

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Savita Tyagi 16 December 2019

True and entertaining! Where are the readers? O Muse!

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Kevin Patrick 17 December 2019

the life of a poet is a solitary one. often words that only a few will ever read, the contrast between the poet and boxing is a good one, the latter gets the glory for physical prowess and endurance, but the poet tells the story with beauty and intelligence. Szymborska captures the dichotomy well. So glad she is POTD

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Anil Kumar Panda 16 December 2019

A beautiful poem on those poets who write for themselves. It makes an interesting reading and i like to read it again and again. Loved it.10++

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Mahtab Bangalee 16 December 2019

Oh, not to be a boxer but a poet, one sentenced to hard shelleying for life, for lack of muscles forced to show the world.............//// beautiful and interesting poem penned

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Glen Kappy 16 December 2019

i relate to this poem as one who's attended poetry readings. as i note in my poem " at a village poetry reading, " besides what may be a scant audience, too often the poets who haven't read yet are too busy thinking about and preparing for their turn to listen to the one reading. these days i assume that those who read poetry are few and that if we want to attract them it helps to write in short forms. -gk

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Edward Kofi Louis 16 December 2019

Men, women! ! Musing. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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