Monday, February 6, 2012

Wislawa Szymborska July 2, 1923 - Feb. 1, 2012

A dead beetle lies on the path through the field.
Three pairs of legs folded neatly on its belly.
Instead of death's confusion, tidiness and order.
The horror of this sight is moderate,
its scope is strictly local, from the wheat grass to the mint.
The grief is quarantined.
The sky is blue.

To preserve our peace of mind, animals die
more shallowly: they aren't deceased, they're dead.
They leave behind, we'd like to think, less feeling and less world,
departing, we suppose, from a stage less tragic.
Their meek souls never haunt us in the dark,
they know their place,
they show respect.

And so the dead beetle on the path
lies unmourned and shining in the sun.
One glance at it will do for meditation —
clearly nothing much has happened to it.
Important matters are reserved for us,
for our life and our death, a death
that always claims the right of way.

- Wislawa Szymborska


- was born in Kórnik in Western Poland on 2 July 1923

- was poetry editor and columnist in the Kraków literary weekly "Zycie Literackie". from 1953-1981. It was herein the series of her essays "Lektury nadobowiazkowe" appeared (renewed in the addition to "Gazeta Wyborcza"-"Gazeta o Ksiazkach"). "Lektury nadobowiazkowe" was published in the form of a book four times.

- published 16 collections of poetry: Dlatego zyjemy (1952), Pytania zadawane sobie (1954), Wolanie do Yeti (1957), Sól (1962), Wiersze wybrane (1964), Poezje wybrane (1967), Sto pociech (1967), Poezje (1970), Wszelki wypadek (1972), Wybór wierszy (1973), Tarsjusz i inne wiersze (1976), Wielka liczba (1976), Poezje wybrane II (1983), Ludzie na moscie (1986). Koniec i poczatek (1993, 1996), Widok z ziarnkiem piasku. 102 wiersze (1996)

- translated French poetry

- has had her poems translated (and published in book form) in English, German, Swedish, Italian, Danish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Czech, Slovakian, Serbo-Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian... Her work has also been published in multiple foreign anthologies of Polish poetry.

- received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1996 "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality".

- won the Goethe Prize winner in 1991 and Herder Prize winner in 1995, received a degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters of Poznan University (1995), and the Polish PEN Club prize in 1996.

- was modest, and needed quiet. When she won the Nobel Prize she felt she had to stop writing until the world settled down around her and she could be alone again. As Robert Krulwich said, "She'd wake up like we do, look out the window just like us, rummage through her days, but somehow what caught her attention — a grasshopper's hop, an infant's fingernails, plankton, a snowflake — when Wislawa Szymborska noticed something, she noticed it so well, her gaze reshaped the thing she saw, gave it a dignity, a vividness."

- thought about the world through poetry.

- worked on new poetry right until her death. This work will be published later in 2012.

- died February 1st, 2012, peacefully at home, in her sleep.

Rest in peace, Dear Lady.


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