Look, how constantly capable
and how well maintained
in our century: hatred.
How lightly she regards high impediments.
How easily she leaps and overtakes.
She's not like other feelings.
She's both older and younger than they.
She herself gives birth to causes
which awaken her to life.
If she ever dozes, it's not an eternal sleep.
Insomnia does not sap her strength, but adds to it.
Religion or no religion,
as long as one kneels at the starting-block.
Fatherland or no fatherland,
as long as one tears off at the start.
She begins as fairness and equityt.
Then she propels herself.
She veils her face with a mien
of romantic ecstasy.
Oh, the other feelings --
decrepit and sluggish.
Since when could that brotherhood
count on crowds?
Did ever empathy
urge on toward the goal?
How many clients did doubt abduct?
Only she abducts who knows her own.
Talented, intelligent, very industrious.
Do we need to say how many songs she has written.
How many pages of history she has numbered.
How many carpets of people she has spread out
over how many squares and stadiums!
Let's not lie to ourselves:
She's capable of creating beauty.
Wonderful is her aura on a black night.
Magnificent cloud masses at rosy dawn.
It's difficult to deny her pathos of ruins
and her coarse humor
mightily towering above them columns.
She's the mistress of contrast
between clatter and silence,
between red blood and white snow.
And above all she never tires of
the motif of the tidy hangman
above the defiled victim.
She's ready for new tasks at any moment.
If she must wait she'll wait.
She said she was blind. Blind?
She has the keen eyes of a sniper
and boldly looks into the future
by Wislawa Szymborska, -translated by Walter Whipple