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Story Archives

Nothing Twice

Wislawa Szymborska

By Wislaw Szymborska

 

Nothing can ever happen twice.

In consequence, the sorry fact is

that we arrive here improvised

and leave without the chance to practice.

 

Even if there is no one dumber,

if you're the planet's biggest dunce,

you can't repeat the class in summer:

this course is only offered once.

 

No day copies yesterday,

no two nights will teach what bliss is

in precisely the same way,

with precisely the same kisses.

 

One day, perhaps some idle tongue

mentions your name by accident:

I feel as if a rose were flung

into the room, all hue and scent.

 

The next day, though you're here with me,

I can't help looking at the clock:

A rose? A rose? What could that be?

Is it a flower or a rock?

 

Why do we treat the fleeting day

with so much needless fear and sorrow?

It's in its nature not to say

Today is always gone tomorrow

 

With smiles and kisses, we prefer

to seek accord beneath our star,

although we're different (we concur)

just as two drops of water are.


 

Why do we treat the fleeting day with so much needless fear and sorrow?

 

Wislawa Szymborska was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.