Thursday, April 26, 2018

Poem in Your Pocket

As Kym has so kindly reminded us, today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. I don't think carrying a poem in your pocket, purse, backpack, or anywhere else is ever a bad thing, and I love the idea of a special day to share poetry with each other.

My choice to share with you today reflects the many funerals I've attended recently - three so far since February, one this afternoon, and the fifth one is Monday morning. I don't think this poem is morbid, but instead it strikes me as almost amusing because it's so universally true. If anything, this poem makes me slightly less sad about funerals; life does go on.

A Funeral ~ Wislawa Szymborska
Translated from the Polish by Mikołaj Sekrecki

"so suddenly, who would've expected this"
"stress and cigarettes, I was warning him"
"fair to middling, thanks"
"unwrap these flowers"
"his brother snuffed because of his ticker too, must be running in the family"
"I'd never recognise you with your beard"
"it's all his fault, he was always up to some funny business"
"the new one was to give a speech, can't see him, though"
"Kazek's in Warsaw and Tadek abroad"
"you're the only wise one here, having an umbrella"
"it won't help him now that he was the most talented of them all"
"that's a connecting room. Baśka won't like it"
"he was right, true, but that's not the reason for"
"with door varnishing, guess how much"
"two eggs and a spoonful of sugar"
"none of his business, what was the point then"
"blue and small sizes only"
"five times and never a single answer"
"I'll give you that, I could've, but so could you"
"so good at least she had that job"
"I've no idea, must be relatives"
"the priest, very much like Belmondo"
"I've never been to this part of the cemetery"
"I saw him in my dream last week, must've been a premonition"
"pretty, that little daughter"
"we're all going to end up this way"
"give mine to the widow, I've got to hurry to"
"but still it sounded more solemn in Latin"
"you can't turn back the clock"
"how about a beer"
"give me a ring, we'll have a chat"
"number four or number twelve"
"me, this way"
"we, that way".


And because I also wanted to share a shorter poem in person today, I printed out copies of this one and tucked them into the books in our Little Free Library in the park across the street. I also left one in my mailbox, so I'll be interested to see the mailman's reaction. Here's hoping that people enjoy a nice, concise poem that still makes you think.

The Three Oddest Words ~ Wislawa Szymborska

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.

I hope you have (and share) a poem in your pocket today!


  1. Thanks for these. I especially love A Funeral.

  2. Cool! Thanks!! I really enjoyed A Funeral!

  3. I just love Szymborska. She is genius! (As is her translator. . . ) I love your idea of printing up little poems to surprise and delight today. What a great thing. (I'm copying that for next year for sure.) Thanks for sharing these poems, Bonny. XO

  4. Poems are sucha thing of beauty! Thanks

  5. That funeral one is spectacular. And the other is truly profound.

  6. Thank you, Bonny! What a lovely surprise since I had no idea it was poem in your pocket day. I hope you have a lovely day.

  7. The funeral poem is really awesome - and so true! Thank you for sharing not one, but two poems today!

  8. Thanks to you, Szymborska is at the top of my "must acquire" list ... I love her (and her translator - thanks to Kym for that reminder) way with words. Her poems are deceptively easy to read, but boy do they make an impact. and what a cool idea to share a poem on a little card. I hope you get some positive feedback for that one :-)

  9. Thank-you Bonny! I'm late to read this but find it a wonderful beginning to my Saturday morning. I hope your Saturday morning brings some peace and relaxation. xoxo

  10. Both poems are excellent and both say so much. Szymborska knows how to show the everyday-ness, all of us all over the world saying the same sorts of things, having the same sentiments, being so much alike, really shows how small the world is and how closely allied our hearts are.


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