Saturday, April 10, 2010


I just learned a few hours ago of the horrendous, deadly plane crash claiming the lives of Poland's president and first lady as well as many top leaders of their government and military. While as an American I knew none of these people, any event involving such a large loss of life seems to ask for acknowledgment.

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 MikoĊ‚aj 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.


paige said...

i love this one Kristine - i'm going to have to look up more... It's totally different. Gonna have to read it again.

Minerva said...

I'm glad you like it! :) I know what you mean. I found another poem of hers that is so far my favorite, but I didn't think it fit this particular occasion. I will share it when I'm feeling cheeky. :)

Joanie said...

Oh I really like this poem! Such a tragedy about the Polish president though. :(