Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Nothing’s a Gift by Wisława Szymborska

Nothing’s a Gift
Nothing’s a gift, it’s all on loan.
I’m drowning in debts up to my ears.
I’ll have to pay for myself
with my self,
give up my life for my life.
Here’s how it’s arranged:
The heart can be repossessed,
the liver, too,
and each single finger and toe.
Too late to tear up the terms,
my debts will be repaid,
and I’ll be fleeced,
or, more precisely, flayed.
I move about the planet
in a crush of other debtors.
Some are saddled with the burden
of paying off their wings.
Others must, willy-nilly,
account for every leaf.
Every tissue in us lies
on the debit side.
Not a tentacle or tendril
is for keeps.
The inventory, infinitely detailed,
implies we’ll be left
not just empty-handed
but handless, too.
I can’t remember
where, when, and why
I let someone open
this account in my name.
We call the protest against this
the soul.
And it’s the only item
not included on the list.

(Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanaugh)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.