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Poem: “Utopia”

Utopia

Island where all becomes clear.
Solid ground beneath your feet.

The only roads are those that offer access.

Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.

The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.

The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.

The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.

If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.

Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.

On the right a cave where Meaning lies.

On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.

Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.

For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.

As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.

Into unfathomable life.

Wislawa Szymborska


The famous poet Wislawa Szymborska was born in Western Poland on July 2, 1923. When World War II broke out in 1939, she took underground classes and later worked as a railroad employee to avoid being deported for forced labor in Germany. Though Wislawa began her studies in Literature, she had to quit due to a lack of funds. Many of her poems feature war and terrorism and she often wrote from unusual points of view, including the point of view of a cat in the newly empty apartment of its dead owner. Her first book was to be published in 1949, but did not pass censorship as it "did not meet socialist requirements". Working as poetry editor and columnist in Poland, she was described as the "Mozart of Poetry". Wislawa Szymborska died February 1, 2012 in Krakow.


  • goral

    In celebration of Pi day, here’s one by this Nobel laureate who understands
    pi as God intended – a relationship without end.

    Pi
    Wislawa Szymborska

    The admirable number pi:
    three point one four one.
    All the following digits are also initial,
    five nine two because it never ends.
    It can’t be comprehended six five three five at a glance,
    eight nine by calculation,
    seven nine or imagination,
    not even three two three eight by wit, that is, by comparison
    four six to anything else
    two six four three in the world.
    The longest snake on earth calls it quits at about forty feet.
    Likewise, snakes of myth and legend, though they may hold out a bit longer.
    The pageant of digits comprising the number pi
    doesn’t stop at the page’s edge.
    It goes on across the table, through the air,
    over a wall, a leaf, a bird’s nest, clouds, straight into the sky,
    through all the bottomless, bloated heavens.
    Oh how brief – a mouse tail, a pigtail – is the tail of a comet!
    How feeble the star’s ray, bent by bumping up against space!
    While here we have two three fifteen three hundred nineteen
    my phone number your shirt size the year
    nineteen hundred and seventy-three the sixth floor
    the number of inhabitants sixty-five cents
    hip measurement two fingers a charade, a code,
    in which we find hail to thee, blithe spirit, bird thou never wert
    alongside ladies and gentlemen, no cause for alarm,
    as well as heaven and earth shall pass away,
    but not the number pi, oh no, nothing doing,
    it keeps right on with its rather remarkable five,
    its uncommonly fine eight,
    its far from final seven,
    nudging, always nudging a sluggish eternity
    to continue.

  • Struble

    Wonderful poems by W. Szymborska. To resplendence an arch, on the Ides of March.

    • goral

      Et tu, Struble, read W.S.? Thanks for the new word, it’s brilliant.