Allegro Ma Non Troppo



Life, youíre beautiful (I say)

you just couldnít get more fecund,

more befrogged or nightingaley,

more anthilful or sproutsprouting.


Iím trying to court lifeís favour,

to get into its good fraces,

to anticipate its whims.

Iím always the first to bow,


always there where it can see me

with my humble, reverent face,

soaring on the wings of rapture,

falling under waves of wonder.


Oh how grassy is this hopper,

How his berry ripely rasps.

I would never have conceived it

if I werenít conceived myself!


Life (I say) Iíve no idea

what I could compare you to.

No one else can make a pine cone

and then make the pine coneís clone.


I praise your inventiveness,

bounty, sweep, exactitude,

sense of order Ė gifts that border

on witchcraft and wizardry.


I just donít want to upset you,

tease or anger, vex or rile.

For millennia, Iíve been trying

to appease you with my smile.


I tug at life by its leaf hem:

will it stop for me, just once,

momentarily forgetting

to what end it runs and runs?

Wisława Szymborska†† †††††††††††

(from Could Have 1972)†††††††††††