Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tuesday Poem: "A Contribution to Statistics" by Wisława Szymborska



Out of a hundred people

those who always know better

— fifty-two


doubting every step

— nearly all the rest,


glad to lend a hand

if it doesn’t take too long

— as high as forty-nine,


always good

because they can’t be otherwise

— four, well maybe five,


able to admire without envy

— eighteen,


suffering illusions

induced by fleeting youth

— sixty, give or take a few,


not to be taken lightly

— forty and four,


living in constant fear

of someone or something

— seventy-seven,


capable of happiness

— twenty-something tops,


harmless singly, savage in crowds

— half at least,


cruel

when forced by circumstances

— better not to know

even ballpark figures,


wise after the fact

— just a couple more

than wise before it,


taking only things from life

— thirty

(I wish I were wrong),


hunched in pain,

no flashlight in the dark

— eighty-three

sooner or later,


righteous

— thirty-five, which is a lot,


righteous

and understanding

— three,


worthy of compassion

— ninety-nine,


mortal

— a hundred out of a hundred.

Thus far this figure still remains unchanged.



by Wisława Szymborska
(translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak)



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