Thursday, May 16, 2024

A Gathering of Poetry: May 2024

It's the third Thursday of the month so I'd like to welcome you to A Gathering of Poetry. We may have provided you with more poetry than you wanted during National Poetry Month in April but we're back to sharing poetry once a month. I spent an afternoon looking through my poetry books but couldn't find anything that felt right. Since I had all the poetry books out, I decided to clean and organize the bookcase. While doing that, I spied a dog-eared page in my copy of Map: Collected and Last Poems. I stopped to take a look and realized my poem for this month had found me. Cleaning the bookcase can wait.

From The Marginalian, Maria Popova 

by Wislawa Szymborska

Island where all becomes clear.

Solid ground beneath your feet.

The only roads are those that offer access.

Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.

The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.

The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.

The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.

If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.

Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.

On the right a cave where Meaning lies.

On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.

Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.

For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.

As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.

Into unfathomable life.


Szymborska, Wislawa. "Utopia". Map: Collected and Last Poems: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

You can read more about the poet here


Thanks for reading and joining us for our monthly Gathering of Poetry. You are more than welcome to add your link below if you would like to share one of your favorite poems. The more the merrier!

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  1. I'm not sure I get it, but I like it! Clearly this is one of those poems that has to be read and reread.

  2. Oh my! This is the second of Wislawa's poems that has crossed my path this week! This is a delight... truly, a delight! A place where there is no doubt... and yet, it is too much. I love how she makes me think!

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful poem... with the artwork!

  3. Yeah, I need to read this again - probably several times, but I really like it and I LOVE the map!

  4. I absolutely love Wisława Szymborska's poetry, and I got so excited when I saw that you were sharing one of her poems today! And the map. What a special bonus addition! (I always have to remind myself that Szymborska didn't write in English . . . that her beautiful poems are translations! What a gift!) Anyway. What a marvelous poem. I'm so glad you decided (not) to clean out your bookshelves, and stumbled onto some poetry instead.

  5. Unfathomable is right. I'm in my last chapter and I don't have a clue what those 70 years I've lived have meant. I really hate that I will probably be leaving on a low note. The state of the world is really depressing for this former starry eyed flower child.

    1. If only we could drink from the spring called "Now I Get It".

  6. What a lovely poem. We must enjoy every day.

  7. She's brilliant, and I thank you so much for introducing me (to her) years ago. Now everytime I encounter her "in the wild" I'm reminded of you and that always makes me smile. It's always the closing lines that get me. and this poem is no exception. Unfathomable life is what I'd choose, too. (The epigraph of The Far Field, by Madhuri Vijay reminded me of you just this week - it's from "Some People" and it's really perfect for the book. and of course I'm now prejudiced to love the author and the book because of that.)


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