Friday, August 22, 2014

Happy National Poetry Day: "In Praise of My Sister" by Wisława Szymborska


My sister doesn't write poems,
and it's unlikely that she'll suddenly start writing poems.
She takes after her mother, who didn't write poems,
and also her father, who likewise didn't write poems.
I feel safe beneath my sister's roof:
my sister's husband would rather die than write poems.
And, even though this is starting to sound as
repetitive as Peter Piper,
the truth is, none of my relatives write poems.

My sister's desk drawers don't hold old poems,
and her handbag doesn't hold new ones.
When my sister asks me over for lunch,
I know she doesn't want to read me her poems.
Her soups are delicious without ulterior motives.
Her coffee doesn't spill on manuscripts.

There are many families in which nobody writes poems,
but once it starts up it's hard to quarantine.
Sometimes poetry cascades down through the generations,
creating fatal whirlpools where family love may founder.

My sister has tackled oral prose with some success,
but her entire written opus consists of postcards from vacations
whose text is only the same promise every year:
when she gets back, she'll have
so much
much
much to tell.

by Wisława Szymborska (translated from the Polish by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh)



Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Prowent, which has since become part of Kórnik, she later resided in Kraków until the end of her life. 

She was born on July 2, 1923, in Kornik, Poland and died on February 1, 2012, in Krakow, Poland. She was educated at Jagiellonian University between 1945 and 1948. She married Adam Wlodek in 1948.

For more information about Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisława_Szymborska

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY DAY EVERYBODY!!!

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