Wislawa Szymborska – Portrait Of A Woman (1)
Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
She must be a variety.
Change so that nothing will change.
It’s easy, impossible, tough going, worth a shot.
Her eyes are, as required, deep, blue, gray,
dark merry, full of pointless tears.
She sleeps with him as if she’s first in line or the only one on earth.
She’ll bear him four children, no children, one.
Naive, but gives the best advice.
Weak, but takes on anything.
A screw loose and tough as nails.
Curls up with Jasper or Ladies’Home Journal.
Can’t figure out this bolt and builds a bridge.
Young, young as ever, still looking young.
Holds in her hand a baby sparrow with a broken wing,
her own money for some trip far away,
a meat cleaver, a compress, a glass of vodka.
Where’s she running, isn’t she exhausted.
Not a bit, a little, to death, it doesn’t matter.
She must love him, or she’s just plain stubborn.
For better, for worse, for heaven’s sake.