Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012)

Death?  It comes in your sleep,
exactly as it should.

When it comes, you'll be dreaming
that you don't need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
and it's part of the rhythm
to vanish like a spark.

Only a death like that.  A rose
could prick you harder, I suppose;
you'd feel more terror at the sound
of petals falling to the ground.

Only a world like that.  To die
just that much.  And to live just so.
And all the rest is Bach's fugue, played
for the time being
on a saw.


W. Szymborska, from "I'm Working on the World," in Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh (Harcourt, 1998), p. 4