Sunday, February 05, 2012

Your Sunday Poem

Wislawa Szymborska died a few days ago.  The poetry world will be a far emptier place without her.  But we have her wonderful work still with us.  Celebrate her life.  Go to the bookstore to buy a volume of her work. "Poems New and Collected," would be a good start.  It will be a nice gift to yourself.  Read a few poems during a break in the Superbowl.  Szymborska would have taken delight in that.  Might have even written a poem about it.

Nothing's a Gift

Nothing's a gift, it's all on loan.
I'm drowning in debts up to my ears.
I'll have to pay for myself
with my self,
give up my life for my life.

Here's how it's arranged:
The heart can be repossessed,
the liver, too,
and each single finger and toe.

Too late to tear up the terms,
my debts will be repaid,
and I'll be fleeced,
or, more precisely, flayed.

I move about the planet
in a crush of other debtors.
Some are saddled with the burden
of paying off their wings.
Others must, willy-nilly,
account for every leaf.

Every tissue in us lies
on the debit side.
Not a tentacle or tendril
is for keeps.

The inventory, infinitely detailed,
implies we'll be left
not just empty-handed
but handless, too.

I can't remember where, when, and why
I let someone open
this account in my name.

We call the protest against this
the soul, And it's the only item
not included on the list.

1 comment:

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Caught up on my reading. Found a great obituary on her in the February 11 Economist. She was a great human being and poet.