Poem of the Day: Zdumienie (Astonishment) by Wisława Szymborska

Why to excess then in one single person?
This one not that? And why am I here?
On a day that’s a Tuesday? In a house not a nest?
In skin not in scales? With a face not a leaf?
Why only once in my very own person?
Precisely on earth? Under this little star?
After so many eras of not being here?
In spite of seas of all these dates and fates,
these cells, celestials and coelenterates?
What is it really that made me appear
neither an inch nor half a globe too far,
neither a minute nor aeons too early?
What made me fill myself with me so squarely?
Why am I staring now into the dark
and muttering this unending monologue
just like the growling thing we call a dog?

— Translated by Iza Figiel  —

Why in one person? Random and mere?
This not another? Why am I here?
The day called Tuesday? In house not nest?
With face not leaf? With hair not crest?
Why only once in peson? Why
Here on this earth? Below that sky?
After so many centuries of absence?
For all the times and protozoans?
All the horizons and all dipnoans?
Right at the moment? The core of substance?
Me with myself on my own. Why
not round the corner, not far away
Centuries ago or yesterday
Into dark corner I fix my eye
just like – while giving me a jog
gazes the barking called the dog?

— Original in Polish —

Czemu w zanadto jednej osobie?
Tej a nie innej? I co tu robię?
W dzień co jest wtorkiem? W domu nie gnieździe?
W skórze nie łusce? Z twarzą nie liściem?
Dlaczego tylko raz osobiście?
Właśnie na ziemi? Przy małej gwieździe?
Po tylu erach nieobecnosci?
Za wszystkie czasy i wszystkie glony?
Za jamochłony i nieboskłony?
Akurat teraz? Do krwi i kości?
Sama u siebie z sobą? Czemu
nie obok ani sto mil stąd,
nie wczoraj ani sto lat temu
siedzę i patrzę w ciemny kąt
– tak jak z wzniesionym nagle łbem
patrzy warczące zwane psem?

image by escume

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