Sunday, March 28, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

This from”Monologue of a Dog,” by Wislawa Szymborska. Ms. Szymborska won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of seventy-three, a relatively unknown poet in her native Poland. In his introduction, Billy Collins writes, “The typical Szymborska poem, if such a thing exists, is a free-verse meditation couched in colloquial language. It begins with a stray fact or a mundane observation, then ascends to a heightened level of speculation. The shifts from zone to zone are engineered so smoothly that they often take place beyond the conscious awareness of the reader. She herself has said that attempts to estimate poetry or place a value on it often elude explanation: “ . . the fact that with one writer the words fall together into units that are alive and enduring and with another they do not is decided in a realm that’s not easily comprehensible to anyone. I suspect that this is a realm upon which the vicissitudes of life and the intensity of experience no longer have any influence.” Her comment points to the insufficiency of literary criticism and espouses a preternatural dimension for art.”

Yet another reason to read poetry; it speaks to and nurtures the preternatural – even when we think it doesn’t.

A Little Girl Tugs At The Tablecloth

She’s been in this world for over a year,
and in this world not everything’s been examined
and taken in hand.

The subject of today’s investigation
is things that don’t move by themselves.

They need to be helped along,
shoved, shifted,
taken from their place and relocated.

They don’t all want to go, e.g., the bookshelf,
the cupboard, the unyielding walls, the table.

But the tablecloth on the stubborn table
-- well-seized by its hems –
manifests a willingness to travel.

And the glasses, plates, creamer, spoons, bowls,
are fairly shaking with desire.

It’s fascinating,
what form of motion they will take,
once they’re trembling on the brink:
will they roam across the ceiling?
fly around the lamp?
hop onto the windowsill and from there to a tree?

Mr. Newton still has no say in this.
Let him look down from the heavens and wave his hands.

This experiment must be completed.
And it will.


Alon Perlman said...

Lost in translation?

Some of her poems seem to be from 1957 (I was not conceived yet, just twinkled)
The Lady (poetess?) does not seem to translate her own poems.
Bringing about Archie Bunker’s comment-"How do you define the intangerine?"

How can we really read her poems when they have passed through another’s minds eye?
It is Vanity of vanities under the sun not to understand that FUTILITY.

But... Perhaps to mature to the gold medallion recognition of the fortune left by the guilty conscience of a bomb maker named Alfred, poems/grapes have to first stew/ferment in a Bilingual Skull/Barrel Oak, then sit coolly quietly in the dark under glass
and wait for years, before savored sip by sip. The artist is never recognized in her own time, her own village.

I THOUGHT a "Dog" in Polish was “pies” guess I was wrong, oh well.
From the files of “Lost in translation”
Monolog psa zaplatanego
w dzieje Sa psy i psy. Ja bylem psem wybranym.
Mialem dobre papiery i w zylach krew wilcza.
Mieszkalem na wyzynie wdychajac wonie widoków na laki w sloncu, na swierki po deszczu i grudy ziemi spod sniegu.

Mialem porzadny dom i ludzi na uslugi bylem zywiony, myty, szczotkowany,
wyprowadzany na piekne spacery.
Jednak z szacunkiem, bez poufalosci.
Kazdy dobrze pamietal, czyim jestem psem.

Byle parszywy kundel potrafi miec pana.
Ale uwaga-wara od porównan.
Mój pan byl panem jedynym w swoim rodzaju.
Mial okazale stado chodzace za nim krok w krok i zapatrzone w niego z lekliwym podziwem.

ford yap said...

Poem is beautifully written and logically strong. A punch for those who thinks that things (political,social cultural,movement)happen automatically. Poet has shown us a part which we see everyday but don't care or don't tend to understand what is it telling. Poem has prove nothing gonna move on itself someone or something has to do a force to move it. There are so many problems they don't wanna go and are never going to move we have to move it. It never going to move by unseen gravity. See these lines
They need to be helped along,
shoved, shifted,
taken from their place and relocated.

They don’t all want to go, e.g., the bookshelf,
the cupboard, the unyielding walls, the table.
These lines are on it's perfection.
a small effort can help things to move. this is a very fascinating poem. a genius one
Thank you
Robin Jokes