Thursday, August 8, 2019

Poem For A Thursday: Szymborska

In Praise Of Feeling Bad About Yourself

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands were clean. 
A jackal doesn't understand remorse.
Lions and lice don't waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they're right? 
Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
In every other way they're light. 
On this third planet of the sun
Among the signs of bestiality
A clear conscience is number one.

-Wislawa Szymborska 
(tr. Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak)

Wislawa Szymborska was a Polish Nobel Prize-winning poet who passed away in 2012. It's WIT (Women in Translation) Month!

Holds Upon Happiness, the originator of Poem For A Thursday, has previously featured a different poem of  Szymborska.

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