|“Thank-You Note” by Wisława Szymborska
I owe so much
The relief as I agree
The happiness that I’m not
The peace I feel with them,
I don’t wait for them,
From a rendezvous to a letter
Trips with them always go smoothly,
And when seven hills and rivers
They deserve the credit
They themselves don’t realize
“I don’t owe them a thing,”
• Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
Pokój mi z nimi
Nie czekam na nich
Od spotkania do listu
Podróże z nimi zawsze są udane,
A kiedy nas rozdziela
Sami nie wiedzą,
Wislawa Szymborska was born in Kórnik* in Western Poland on 2 July 1923. Since 1931 she has been living in Krakow, where during 1945-1948 she studied Polish Literature and Sociology at the Jagiellonian University. Szymborska made her début in March 1945 with a poem “Szukam slowa” (I am Looking for a Word) in the daily “Dziennik Polski”.
Szymborska has published 16 collections of poetry: Dlatego zyjemy (1952), Pytania zadawane sobie (1954), Wolanie do Yeti (1957), Sól (1962), Wiersze wybrane (1964), Poezje wybrane (1967), Sto pociech (1967), Poezje (1970), Wszelki wypadek (1972), Wybór wierszy (1973), Tarsjusz i inne wiersze (1976), Wielka liczba (1976), Poezje wybrane II (1983), Ludzie na moscie (1986). Koniec i poczatek (1993, 1996), Widok z ziarnkiem piasku. 102 wiersze (1996). Wislawa Szymborska has also translated French poetry.
Her poems have been translated (and published in book form) in English, German, Swedish, Italian, Danish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Czech, Slovakian, Serbo-Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian and other languages. They have also been published in many foreign anthologies of Polish poetry.
Wislawa Szymborska is the Goethe Prize winner (1991) and Herder Prize winner (1995). She has a degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters of Poznan University (1995). In 1996 she received the Polish PEN Club prize.