I prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems.

on

Possibilities

Wisława Szymborska

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.

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
    I prefer to read so many perfect lines.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Love these dogs too – this one is moving in with us in a month 🙂

      1. Yay! That is exciting! congrats. (Jealous here)

  2. Ah, thanks for reminding me of this one. I needed the people/mankind thing today.

  3. Gunta says:

    “I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
    that can be celebrated every day.”
    One of many I’ve lived by… though others rang a bell as well.
    Thank you!

  4. Sigrun says:

    I love the way Szymborska jumps from small to big, from seemingly trivial matter to existential concerns, just to show us that it’s not really that easy to discern what’s what.

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