Birthday

 

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So much world all at once Ė how it rustles and bustles!

Moraines and morays and morasses and mussels,

the flame , the flamingo, the flounder, the feather Ė

how to line them all up, how to put them together?

All the thickets and crickets and creepers and creeks!

The beeches and leeches alone could take weeks.

Chinchillas, gorillas, and sarsaparillas Ė

thanks so much, but all this excess of kindness could kill us.

Whereís the jar for this burgeoning burdock, brooksí babble,

rooks' squabble, snakesí squiggle, abundance, and trouble?

How to plug up the gold mines and pin down the fox,

how to cope with the lynx, bobolinks, streptococs!

Take dioxide: a lightweight, but might in deedsí

what about octopodes, what about centipedes?

I could look into prices, but donít have the nerve:

these are products I just canít afford, donít deserve.

Isnít sunset a little too much for two eyes

that, who knows, may not open to see the sun rise?

I am just passing through, itís a five minute stop.

I wonít catch what is distant; whatís too close, Iíll mix up.

While trying to plumb what the voidís inner sense is,

Iím bound to pass by all these poppies and pansies.

What a loss when you think how much effort was spent

perfecting this petal, this pistil, this scent

for the one-time appearance, which is all theyíre allowed,

so aloofly, precise and so fragilely proud.

 

Wisława Szymborska†† †††††††††††

(from Could Have 1972)†††††††††††