The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

The End and the Beginning
By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

After every war
someone has to tidy up.
Things won't pick
themselves up, after all.

Someone has to shove
the rubble to the roadsides
so the carts loaded with corpses
can get by.

Someone has to trudge
through sludge and ashes,
through the sofa springs,
the shards of glass,
the bloody rags.

Someone has to lug the post
to prop the wall,
someone has to glaze the window,
set the door in its frame.

No sound bites, no photo opportunities,
and it takes years.
All the cameras have gone
to other wars.

The bridges need to be rebuilt,
the railroad stations, too.
Shirtsleeves will be rolled
to shreds.

Someone, broom in hand,
still remembers how it was.
Someone else listens, nodding
his unshattered head.

But others are bound to be bustling nearby
who'll find all that
a little boring.

From time to time someone still must
dig up a rusted argument
from underneath a bush
and haul it off to the dump.

Those who knew
what this was all about
must make way for those
who know little.
And less than that.
And at last nothing less than nothing.

Someone has to lie there
in the grass that covers up
the causes and effects
with a cornstalk in his teeth,
gawking at clouds.


Also, if you're interested, take time to read Poet's Choice by Edward Hirsch in The Washington Post. This week the subject is Poland's Wislawa Szymborska, who wrote the poem above. "She has a corrosive wit and an ironic historical awareness," Hirsch writes.

I read pieces of The New York Times. Here's Frank Rich, scathing, on The Matrix and media conglomerates that would rather cover one dead pregnant woman than a government that lied to us about the causes for a war. Here's Maureen Dowd on more lies about Iraq (I read that she's dating Aaron Sorkin...fascinating combination). Here's Thomas Friedman on Saudi oil and SUVs, nothing we didn't already know. And here is where I got depressed and stopped reading the op-ed page.

Kim Schultz drew Viggo in Indian Runner (the bar scene). What I find really interesting about the drawing is that there's a point, scrolling up the page, where you can only see the very top of his head and his eyes and it looks like Aragorn, and then one click later you can see all of his eyes and part of his nose and it looks like Lucifer.

Happy Birthday cupiscent!

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