What do YOU prefer?

When I was young (just a few years ago . . . ) I thought it wasn’t a poem unless it rhymed.    Shakespeare, Pound, Chaucer were agonizing for me to read in college, much less understand.  I’ve grown to appreciate poetry and how it paints pictures, feelings, sentiments, hopes & dreams with words . . .  much like visual journals.

Collage by Val

Journal: Collage by Val D.

It’s haiku prompt day today but as a favor to all my friends who don’t like haiku . . .  Joyce . . .  READ THIS!

POSSIBILITIES by Wislawa 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.

“Polish poet and translator Wislawa Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012). In 1996, Szymborska was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.” Upon announcing the prize, the Nobel commission noted her reputation as “the Mozart of poetry” but added that there is also “something of the fury of Beethoven in her creative work.”

A Poet and a Beetle, NO, NOT RINGO!

Robert Krulwich is one of my favorites.  A wonderful writer with an eye for the small wonders of life.  So it’s no wonder that he writes of  this nobel prize winner for literature.  I share this with you in the hope that it will enrich your day as it does mine.  

Look down. Please notice. Please read. 

Two Deaths: A Poet And A Beetle

“She’d wake up like we do, look out the window just like us, rummage through her days, but somehow what caught her attention — a grasshopper’s hop, an infant’s fingernails, plankton, a snowflake — when Wislawa Szymborska noticed something, she noticed it so well, her gaze reshaped the thing she saw, gave it a dignity, a vividness.”

“She was a poet and she died this week. She was, the obits say, a modest woman. When she won the Nobel Prize for literature, she was so discombobulated by the attention, she stopped writing poetry for awhile, until the world settled down and she could be ignored again. She needed the quiet to notice the astonishing, quiet things we might see every day, if we only had her eyes.”

“She had eyes for modest creatures. One time, she was wandering down a path — in my imagination it’s a dirt path through a field somewhere in Poland where she lived. She looks down, and there, lying on its back, sits a beetle. It is dead. Nobody notices. Which is the point:”

A dead beetle lies on the path through the field.
Three pairs of legs folded neatly on its belly.
Instead of death’s confusion, tidiness and order.
The horror of this sight is moderate,
its scope is strictly local, from the wheat grass to the mint.
The grief is quarantined.
The sky is blue.

To preserve our peace of mind, animals die
more shallowly: they aren’t deceased, they’re dead.
They leave behind, we’d like to think, less feeling and less world,
departing, we suppose, from a stage less tragic.
Their meek souls never haunt us in the dark,
they know their place,
they show respect.

And so the dead beetle on the path
lies unmourned and shining in the sun.
One glance at it will do for meditation —
clearly nothing much has happened to it.
Important matters are reserved for us,
for our life and our death, a death
that always claims the right of way.

“Wislawa Szymborska’s passing is as precious as that beetle’s. No more. No less. She taught us about weight in the world. We all have it. Every last one of us”.

“Seen from Above” from Poems New and Collected: 1957-1997 by Wisława Szymborska. English translation copyright © 1998 by Harcourt, Inc. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

NPR News