Five Poems, Five Days: Part II


In Heraclitus' River 

by Wislawa Szymborska,
trans. Joanna Trzeciak

In Heraclitus' river
a fish fishes for fish,
a fish quarters a fish with a sharp fish,
a fish builds a fish, a fish lives in a fish,
a fish flees a fish under siege.

In Heraclitus' river
a fish loves a fish,
your eyes -- it says -- glitter like fishes in the sky,
I want to swim with you to the common sea,
O most beautiful of the school of fish.

In Heraclitus' river
a fish invented the fish beyond fishes,
a fish kneels before the fish, a fish sings to the fish,
asks the fish for an easier swim.

In Heraclitus' river
I, the sole fish, I, a fish apart
(say, from the tree fish and the stone fish)
at certain moments find myself writing small fish
in scales so briefly silver,
that it may be the darkness winking in embarrassment.

from Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska, published by W.W. Norton & Co.

ALSO, NIGHT-POST BONUS: This gorgeous long poem by Ryan Black over at Tupelo Quarterly.

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