UNDER A CERTAIN LITTLE STAR
My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity in case I’m mistaken.
May happiness not be angry if I take it for my own.
May the dead forgive me that their memory’s but a flicker.
My apologies to time for the multiplicity of the world overlooked
My apologies to an old love for treating the new one as the first.
Forgive me far-off wars for taking my flowers home.
Forgive me open wounds for pricking my finger.
My apologies for the minuet record, to those calling out from the
My apologies to those in railway stations for sleeping comfortably
at five in the morning.
Pardon me hounded hope for laughing sometimes.
Pardon me deserts for not rushing in with a spoonful of water.
And you O hawk, the same bird for years in the same cage,
forever still and staring at the same spot,
absolve me even if you happened to be stuffed.
My apologies to the tree felled for four table legs.
My apologies to large questions for small answers.
Truth, do not pay me too much attention.
Solemnity, be magnanimous to me.
Endure, O mystery of being that I might pull threads from your
Soul, don’t blame me that I’ve got you so seldom.
My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere.
My apologies to all for not knowing how to be every man and
I know that as long as I live nothing can excuse me,
because I myself am my own obstacle.
Do not hold it against me, O speech, that I borrow weighty words,
and then labor to make them light.
Wisława Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Born in Prowent, which has since become part of Kórnik, she later resided in Kraków until the end of her life. In Poland, Szymborska‘s books have reached sales rivaling prominent prose authors: although she once remarked in a poem, „Some Like Poetry“, that no more than two out of a thousand people care for the art.
Szymborska was awarded the 1996 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“.
She became better known internationally as a result of this. Her work has been translated into English and many European languages, as well as into Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Persian and Chinese.