Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Few Words on the Soul : Poem in Your Post


We have a soul at times.
No one’s got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

Sometimes
it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It’s picky:
it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren’t two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we’re sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won’t say where it comes from
or when it’s taking off again,
though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

                    - Wislawa Szymborska, translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

With gratitude to my friend Mirabee for sharing this new-to-me poet and this gorgeous poem.

MFB,
L

2 comments:

Anne Bennett said...

Is Poem in Your Post a unique item to your blog or is a community? I'd like to add the feature to my blog but don't want to copy you or step on any toes.
Anne at My head is Full of Books

Laurie said...

Hi, Anne. Lovely to hear from you.
My intention has always been to grow this meme into a blog hop of sorts, so I welcome your participation. Why don't we both post links pointing readers to each others' blogs each time we post our weekend poems?
If you wish, I could provide language exhorting others to join us.
What say ye?

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