Friday, February 3, 2012

Either Way It's Political

Polish poet and nobel prize winner, Wislawa Szymborska, died yesterday at 88. I am putting up one of her poems here to commemorate her unflinchingly honest work. It reminds me a bit of my Politics of Story post for Hunger Mountain.

I don't know much about Ms. Szymborska, but some of the work I've read by her is a stellar example of how writing heartily objects. May she RIP...

Children of Our Era  
by Wislawa Szymborska
translated by Joanna Trzeciak

We are children of our era; 
our era is political. 

All affairs, day and night, 
yours, ours, theirs, 
are political affairs. 

Like it or not, 
your genes have a political past, 
your skin a political cast, 
your eyes a political aspect.
What you say has a resonance; 
what you are silent about is telling. 
Either way, it's political. 

Even when you head for the hills 
you're taking political steps 
on political ground. 

Even apolitical poems are political, 
and above us shines the moon, 
by now no longer lunar. 
To be or not to be, that is the question. 
Question? What question? Dear, here's a suggestion: 
a political question. 

You don't even have to be a human being 
to gain political significance. 
Crude oil will do, 
or concentrated feed, or any raw material. 

Or even a conference table whose shape 
was disputed for months: 
should we negotiate life and death 
at a round table or a square one? 

Meanwhile people were dying, 
animals perishing, 
houses burning, 
and fields growing wild,
just as in times most remote 
and less political. 

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