Thursday, June 21, 2012

Love At First Sight

Poem by Wisława Szymborska, a Nobel laureate, 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful.

Because they didn’t know each other earlier, they suppose that
nothing was happening between them.
What of the streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I’d like to ask them whether they remember—perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
an “excuse me” in a crowd
or a voice “wrong number” in the receiver.
But I know their answer:
no, they don’t remember.

They’d be greatly astonished
to learn that for a long time
chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side.
There were signs, signals: 
but what of it if they were illegible.
Perhaps three years ago,
or last Tuesday
did a certain leaflet fly from shoulder to shoulder?
There was something lost and picked up.
Who knows but what it was a ball
in the bushes of childhood.

There were doorknobs and bells
on which earlier touch piled on touch.
Bags beside each other in the luggage room.
Perhaps they had the same dream on a certain night,
suddenly erased after waking.

Every beginning
is but a continuation,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.

-translated by Walter Whipple- 


felice said...

this is the poem that featured in 向左走向右走 movie, such a beautiful poem :)

ariel said...


ariel said...