Site icon Read A Little Poetry

True Love by Wisława Szymborska

Header PostFeaturedImage 02
True Love
Wisława Szymborska
Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

True love. Is it normal
is it serious, is it practical?
What does the world get from two people
who exist in a world of their own?

Placed on the same pedestal for no good reason,
drawn randomly from millions but convinced
it had to happen this way – in reward for what?
     For nothing.
The light descends from nowhere.
Why on these two and not on others?
Doesn’t this outrage justice? Yes it does.
Doesn’t it disrupt our painstakingly erected principles,
and cast the moral from the peak? Yes on both accounts.

Look at the happy couple.
Couldn’t they at least try to hide it,
fake a little depression for their friends’ sake?
Listen to them laughing – it’s an insult.
The language they use – deceptively clear.
And their little celebrations, rituals,
the elaborate mutual routines –
it’s obviously a plot behind the human race’s back!

It’s hard even to guess how far things might go
if people start to follow their example.
What could religion and poetry count on?
What would be remembered? What renounced?
Who’d want to stay within bounds?

True love. Is it really necessary?
Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
like a scandal in Life’s highest circles.
Perfectly good children are born without its help.
It couldn’t populate the planet in a million years,
it comes along so rarely.

Let the people who never find true love
keep saying that there’s no such thing.

Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.

endnotes

This poem appeared in View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems by Wisława Szymborska, translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh, published by Harcourt Brace, 1995. Shared here with profound gratitude.

 

Read more works by Wisława Szymborska • Find books by this poet • Or view my library

 

Explore poems in pursuit of: peoplerelationshipsquestions • Or browse the index

dear reader

This little corner of the world is my passion project since 2005My commitment is that it will always remain free to all. If this place holds meaning for you, would you consider supporting it? This can be in the form of a cup of coffee (+ other ways).

 

Note that Read A Little Poetry may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through any links on this site. It is at no additional cost to you and helps in the upkeep of this space.

 

Thank you for being here all these years—and into the future—as I hold poets to the light.

on this day
Exit mobile version