shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


more poetry

...because C is sleeping and I don't feel like doing anything else.

In Praise of My Sister

My sister does not write poems
and it's unlikely she'll suddenly start writing poems.
She takes after her mother, who did not write poems,
and after her father, who also did not write poems.
Under my sister's roof I feel safe:
nothing would move my sister's husband to write poems.
And though it sounds like a poem by Adam Macedonski,
none of my relatives is engaged in the writing of poems.

In my sister's desk there are no old poems
nor any new ones in her handbag.
And when my sister invites me to dinner,
I know she has no intention of reading me poems.
She makes superb soups without half trying,
and her coffee does not spill on manuscripts.

In many families no one writes poems,
but when they do, it's seldom just one person.
Sometimes poetry flows in cascades of generations,
which sets up fearsome eddies in family relations.

My sister cultivates a decent spoken prose,
her entire literary output is on vacation postcards
that promise the same thing every year:
that when she returns,
she'll tell us, everything,

-- Wislawa Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. Maguire

From Czeslaw Milosz's introduction to the poem in his anthology A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry:

Writing is a vocation but many writers experience it also as a curse and a burden. In a way, they feel as if they are serving as instruments to a force alien to them. But writing, be it a blessing or a curse, may also be treated humorously by its practitioners and in this amusing verse the word "poems" at the end of the lines serves to enhance the weirdness of that occupation.

All right, ladies, let's have a kick-ass week.


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