Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.Here is the whole poem by those translators:
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologise for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologise to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don't rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And here's a translation of the same poem by Joanna Trzeciak:
I love this. I looked her up, and what do you know, she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996 at the age of 73. Maybe I shouldn't call myself a poetry aficionado if I didn't know that already.
Here's another excerpt:
We have a soul at times.I like this one partly because it feels sf-nal:
No one’s got it non-stop,
Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.
it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.
--from "A Few Words on the Soul," Wislawa Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
I can't speak for elsewhere,
but here on Earth we've got a fair supply of everything.
Here we manufacture chairs and sorrows,
scissors, tenderness, transistors, violins,
teacups, dams, and quips.
There may be more of everything elsewhere,
but for reasons left unspecified they lack paintings,
picture tubes, pierogies, handkerchiefs for tears.
Here we have countless places with vicinities.
You may take a liking to some,
give them pet names,
protect them from harm.
There may be comparable places elsewhere,
but no one thinks they're beautiful.
Like nowhere else, or almost nowhere,
you're given your own torso here,
equipped with the accessories required
for adding your own children to the rest.
Not to mention arms, legs, and astounded head.
Ignorance works overtime here,
something is always being counted, compared, measured,
from which roots and conclusions are then drawn.
I know, I know what you're thinking.
Nothing here can last,
since from and to time immemorial the elements hold sway.
--Wislawa Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
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