My favorite professor of poetry, Adam Zagajewski, is Polish as well, and this event called him back to the front of my mind. I contacted him last summer in the hope of creating a reading list of poets to fill up my reservoir of poetic inspiration, and one poet he says he is always reading is Wlslawa Szymborska. She is a Polish poet of amazing depth and economy of language. I am finding it fitting to include one of her poems here, translated by Mikołaj Sekrecki.
I prefer the cinema.
I prefer cats.
I prefer oak-trees by the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking humans
to myself loving humanity.
I prefer having a thread with a needle close at hand.
I prefer green.
I prefer not claiming that
the intellect should be blamed for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer leaving before.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer old marked illustrations.
I prefer being laughable because of writing poems
to being laughable because of not writing them.
I prefer odd anniversaries in love life,
to be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who do not promise me anything.
I prefer calculated goodness to goodness that is too gullible.
I prefer the earth in civvy street.
I prefer conquered countries to the conquering ones.
I prefer having my objections.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimm tales to the first pages of newspapers.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with their tails unclipped.
I prefer fair eyes since mine are dark.
I prefer drawers.
I prefer many things I have not listed above
to many others unlisted here.
I prefer noughts that are loose
to those queueing for a digit.
I prefer insect time to stellar time.
I prefer touching wood.
I prefer not asking how much longer and when.
I prefer considering even such a possibility
that existence has its reasons.