January 18, 2006

” They passed like strangers,
without a word or gesture,
her off to the store,
him heading for the car.

Perhaps startled
or distracted,
or forgetting
that for a short while
they’d been in love forever.

Still, there’s no guarantee
that it was them.
Maybe yes from a distance,
but not close up.

I watched them from the window,
and those who observe from above
are often mistaken.

She vanished beyond the glass door.
He got in behind the wheel
and took off.
As if nothing had happened,
if it had.

And I, sure for just a moment
that I’d seen it,
strive to convince you, O Readers,
with this accidental little poem
that it was sad.”

Wislawa Szymborska


2 Responses to ““Perspective””

  1. p-rawn. said


    I am very bothered when I think
    of the bad things I have done in my life.
    Not least that time in the chemistry lab
    when I held a pair of scissors by the blades
    and played the handles
    in the naked lilac flame of the Bunsen burner;
    then called your name, and handed them over.

    O the unrivalled stench of branded skin
    as you slipped your thumb and middle finger in,
    then couldn’t shake off the two burning rings. Marked,
    the doctor said, for eternity.

    Don’t believe me, please, if I say
    that was just my butterfingered way, at thirteen,
    of asking you if you would marry me.

    – Simon Armitage

  2. Alberto said


    Between going and staying the day wavers,
    in love with its own transparency.
    The circular afternoon is now a bay
    where the world in stillness rocks.

    All is visible and all elusive,
    all is near and can’t be touched.

    Paper, book, pencil, glass,
    rest in the shade of their names.

    Time throbbing in my temples repeats
    the same unchanging syllable of blood.

    The light turns the indifferent wall
    into a ghostly theater of reflections.

    I find myself in the middle of an eye,
    watching myself in its blank stare.

    The moment scatters. Motionless,
    I stay and go: I am a pause.

    -Octavio Paz

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