by Wislawa Szymborska, on Nadi’s birthday
October 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s come to pass that one sunny morning
I am sitting under a tree
on a river-bank.
It’s a trivial event
history will not record.
It’s not like wars or treaties
whose causes await scrutiny
nor memorable assassinations of tyrants.
And yet I am sitting on a river-bank, that’s a fact.
And since I am here,
I must have come from somewhere,
I must have been around many places,
just like conquerors of kingdoms
before they set sail.
The fleeting moment also has its past,
its Friday before Saturday,
May proceeding June.
It’s horizons are as real
as they are in commanders’ field-glasses.
This tree — a poplar with ancient roots.
The river is Raba: flowing since before yesterday.
The path is through the thickets: made not the day before.
To blow away the clouds
the wind must first have blown them here.
And though nothing significant is happening nearby,
the world is not therefore the poorer in details,
the less justified, less well defined
then when it was being conquered by nomadic people.
Silence is not confined to secret plots,
the pageant of causes to coronations.
Pebbles by-passed on the beach can be as rounded
as the anniversaries of insurrections.
The embroidery of circumstance is also twisty and thick.
The ant’s seam in the grass.
The grass sewn into the earth.
The pattern of a wave darned by a stick.
It just so happens that I am and I look.
Nearby a white butterfly flutters in the air
with wings that are wholly his
and the shadow that flies over my hands
is not other, not anyone’s, but his very own.
Seeing such sights I lose my certainty
that what is important
is more important than the unimportant.