An Opinion on the Question of Pornography


There’s nothing more debauched than thinking.

This sort of wantonness runs wild like a wind-borne weed

on a plot laid out for daises.


Nothing’s sacred for those who think.

Calling things brazenly by name,

risqué analyses, salacious syntheses,

frenzied, rakish chases after the bare facts,

the filthy fingering of touchy subjects,

discussion in heat – it’s music to their ears.


In broad daylight or under cover of night

they form circles, triangles or pairs.

Their partners’ age or sex are unimportant.

Their eyes glitter, their cheeks are flushed.

Friend leads friend astray.

Degenerate daughters corrupt their fathers.

A brother pimps for his little sister.


They prefer the fruits

from the forbidden tree of knowledge

to the pink buttocks found in glossy magazines –

all that ultimately simple hearted smut.

The books they relish have no pictures.

What variety they have lies in certain phrases

Marked with a thumbnail or a crayon.


It’s shocking, the positions,

the unchecked simplicity with which

one mind contrives to fertilise another!

Such positions the Kama Sutra itself doesn’t know.


During these trysts of theirs, the only thing that’s steamy is the tea.

People sit on their chairs and move their lips.


Everyone crosses his own legs

so that one foot is resting on the floor

while the other dangles freely in midair.

Only now and then does somebody get up,

go to the window,

and through a crack in the curtains

take a peep out at the street.

Wisława Szymborska                                      

(from The People on the Bridge 1986)