Wisława Szymborska

The Polish poet Wisława Szymborska died this week.

I can’t read a word of Polish, but in English translation she was one of my favourite poets. She wrote about large and sometimes terrifying themes using small subjects and a friendly, light ironic touch. She had perspective.

It’s gratifying that I can always
wake up before dying.

As soon as war breaks out,
I roll over on my other side.

I’m a child of my age,
but I don’t have to be.

A few years ago
I saw two suns.

And the night before last a penguin,
clear as day.

(from In Praise of Dreams, trans. Stanisław Barańczak & Clare Cavanagh)