Thursday, February 9, 2012

So You Think You Don't Like Poetry

Last week, the poetry world lost an icon: Wislawa Szymborska. A few days before her death, a good friend sent me a few poems, noting that she was one of the few poets he had ever connected with. Some good tributes have popped up, like this one from The New Yorker and this one on Slate. I will honor her, and my friend who admitted feeling personally affected by news of her passing, by posting the same two poems he sent me, coincidentally just days before she died.

Some People Like Poetry

Some people--
that is not everybody
Not even the majority but the minority.
Not counting the schools where one must,
and the poets themselves,
there will be perhaps two in a thousand.

but we also like chicken noodle soup,
we like compliments and the color blue,
we like our old scarves,
we like to have our own way,
we like to pet dogs.

but what is poetry.
More than one flimsy answer
has been given to that question.
And I don't know, and don't know, and I
cling to it as to a life line.


"so suddenly, who would've expected it"
"stress and cigarettes, I told him"
"not bad, thank you"
"unwrap these flowers"
"his brother's heart did him in too, must run in the family"
"I wouldn't have recognized you with that beard"
"it's his own fault, he was always getting himself into something"
"that new guy was supposed to speak. I don't see him anywhere"
"Kazek is in Warsaw, Tadek went abroad"
"you were the only one with enough sense to bring an umbrella"
"so what that he was the most talented of them all"
"it's a walk-through room, Baska won't go for it"
"sure he was right, but that still isn't really the reason"
"and a paint job on both doors, guess how much"
"two egg yolks, one tablespoon sugars
"it was none of his business, why did he mess with it"
"only in blue, and in small sizes"
"five times with no answer"
"all right, I could have done it, but so could you have"
"good thing she had that part-time job"
"I don't know, maybe the relatives"
"the priest is a veritable Belmondo"
"I've never been to this part of the cemetery"
"I dreamed about him last week, something struck me"
"the daughter's not bad-looking"
"it happens to all of us"
"give my best to the widow, I have to make it to"
"it sounded much more solemn in Latin"
"it came and went"
"good-bye Ma'am"
"let's go grab a beer somewhere"
"call me, we'll talk"
"either No. 4 or 12"
"I'm going this way"
"we're not"

No comments: