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First Love – Wislawa Szymborska

Wislawa Szymborska wislawa2

Poem by Wislawa Szymborska

First Love

They say
the first love’s most important.
That’s very romantic,
but not my experience.

Something was and wasn’t there between us,
something went on and went away.

My hands never tremble
when I stumble on silly keepsakes
and a sheaf of letters tied with string
— not even ribbon.

Our only meeting after years:
two chairs chatting
at a chilly table.

Other loves
still breathe deep inside me.
This one’s too short of breath even to sigh.

Yet just exactly as it is,
it does what the others still can’t manage:
unremembered,
not even seen in dreams,
it introduces me to death.

Translated from the Polish by
Clare Cavanagh
and Stanislaw Baranczak
Monologue of a Dog
Harcourt, Inc.

More on Wislawa here, and here

Jeannette Winterson selected THE BALL: As long as nothing can be known for sure , a poem by W. Szymborska for her Latest Poem section in her homepage.

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