Thursday, February 11, 2016

16th May 1973


One of those many dates
that no longer tell me anything.
Where did I go on that day,
what was I doing - I don't know.
If someone committed a crime
- I would be lost for an alibi.
The sun shone and set
but I didn't notice.
I have no diary note
of the Earth's rotation.
Would have been easier to think
I had briefly died
than remembered nothing,
though I lived without a break.
Assuredly, I wasn't a spirit,
I breathed, I ate,
my steps were audible
and there must be
traces of my fingers on door-handles.
My reflections were mirrored.
I wore something that had a colour.
One or two people must have seen me.
Perhaps that day
I found something I had lost earlier.
Or lost something I found later.
I was full of feelings and impressions.
Now it's all
like dots in brackets.
Where was I shrouded,
where did I hide -
it's rather a clever trick
to vanish from one's own eyes.
I shake memory -
will something slumbering for years
start rustling
from its branches.
Manifestly I demand too much -
no less than one second.

–Wisława Szymborska
Adam Czerniawski translation


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