Friday, March 18, 2016

Poetry Friday: Szymborska's "Possibilities" - and a Challenge

Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska 1923-2012
 For Poetry Friday, I offer up this list poem by Nobel-prize winner Wislawa Szymborska. Enjoy! And here's a challenge: Write a list poem this week, inspired by these lines: "I prefer the absurdity of writing poems/ to the absurdity of not writing poems." (P.S. I will forgive Ms. Szymborska for preferring cats. We all know dogs are preferable.)


I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

                     By Wislawa Szymborska from "Nothing Twice", 1997
                     Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh
The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week by Robyn Hood Black over at Life on the Deckle Edge. Head over there to see what other people have posted.  And by the way, Happy 1st Day of Spring, this Sunday!