Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“A Happy Love”
Wislawa Szymborska
1923- Polish
translated by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. Maguire

A happy love. Is it normal,
is it serious, is it profitable --
what use to the world are two people
who have no eyes for the world?

Elevated each for each, for no apparent merit,
by sheer chance singled out of a million, yet convinced
it had to be so -- as reward for what? for nothing;
the light shines from nowhere --
why just on them, and not on others?
Is this an offense to justice? Yes.
Does it violate time-honored principles, does it cast
any moral down from the heights? It violates and casts down.

Look at the happy couple:
if they'd at least dissemble a bit,
feign depression and thereby cheer their friends!
Hear how they laugh -- offensively.
And the language they speak -- it only seems to make sense.
And all those ceremonials, ceremonies,
those elaborate obligations toward each other --
it all looks like a plot behind mankind's back!

It's even hard to foresee how far things might go
if their example could be followed.
What could religions and poetries rely on,
what would be remembered, what abandoned,
who would want to keep within the bounds.

A happy love. Is it necessary?
Tact and common sense advise us to say no more of it
than of a scandal in Life's upper ranks.
Little cherubs get born without its help.
Never, ever could it populate the earth,
for it happens so seldom.

Let people who know naught of happy love
assert that nowhere is there a happy love.

With such faith, they would find it easier to live and to die.

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