A Love for the Works of Wislawa Szymborska

I visited and revisited many poems during my Thanksgiving break. I have so many I want to share, but one that stayed with me was the one below by Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska. I can't think of a poem she has written that I haven't loved. Every time her name is listed in an anthology, I am sure to turn to that selection first.
I read this today about the1996 Nobel Prize winner for Literature on Poets.org.  "While the Polish history from World War II through Stalinism clearly informs her poetry, Szymborska is also a deeply personal poet who explores the large truths that exist in ordinary, everyday things. "Of course, life crosses politics," Szymborska has said "but my poems are strictly not political. They are more about people and life."

That is what I like. I like the larger truths she explores in everyday things. I have thought much about the last stanza. I have often wondered if I was missing something important, but not knowing it. Enjoy "A Note".


A Note
 Life is the only way
 to get covered in leaves,
 catch your breath on the sand,
 rise on wings;
 to be a dog,
 or stroke its warm fur;
 to tell pain
 from everything it's not;
 to squeeze inside events,
 dawdle in views,
 to seek the least of all possible mistakes.
 An extraordinary chance
 to remember for a moment
 a conversation held
 with the lamp switched off;
 and if only once
 to stumble upon a stone,
 end up soaked in one downpour or another,
 mislay your keys in the grass;
 and to follow a spark on the wind with your eyes;
 and to keep on not knowing
 something important.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~


  1. I am mad about Wislawa. I have never lived before I read those. How can I describe in such short space what I got from her poem. Social realist, as she was, gradually changed through love of humanity to probably vedantist philophy. The Greta Garbo of verse as she is called now, says "For the last few years my favourite phrase has been 'I don't know'. I've reached the age of self-knowledge, so I don't know anything. People who claim that they know something are responsible for most of the fuss in the world."
    Very much like vedanta,'those who know, do not know, and those who do not know, really know.'..... "Abignatam bijanitam bignatam abijanitam."

  2. liliac7.6.10

    i was preparing for my semester exams and needed to read Symborska..and then i accidently came upon ur blog..love the poem "A Note"..her poems are a joy to read..


I always enjoy reading comments!