Monday, December 20, 2010

Love at first sight - Wisława Szymborska

Do you know what love at first sight feels like? I know it. Everytime I read a new poem from Kabir, it happens to me. For hours I am lost in the mystery of a wedding song; more I sing the more beautiful it becomes. Nobel prize winning poet from Poland, Wisława Szymborska explains it this way:
Beautiful is such a certainty,
Mystery is more beautiful.



Here is the full poem:

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
Mystery is more beautiful.

Because they didn't know each other earlier, they suppose that
nothing was happening between them.
What of the streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I'd like to ask them
whether they remember-- perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
an "excuse me" in a crowd
or a voice "wrong number" in the receiver.
But I know their answer:
no, they don't remember.

They'd be greatly astonished
to learn that for a long time
chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side. There were signs, signals:
but what of it if they were illegible.
Perhaps three years ago,
or last Tuesday
did a certain leaflet fly
from shoulder to shoulder?
There was something lost and picked up.
Who knows but what it was a ball
in the bushes of childhood.

There were doorknobs and bells
on which earlier
touch piled on touch.
Bags beside each other in the luggage room.
Perhaps they had the same dream on a certain night,
suddenly erased after waking.

Every beginning
is but a continuation,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.

-translated by Walter Whipple