The First Ending of the World

Divorce Wislawa SzymborskaThis week I have another photo to share from the off-road rally that my husband and I did in the Colombian plains a few weeks ago. It shows a poem by Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska and a desolate windmill in the background.

The first line of the poem has stayed with me ever since I read it. I have a fourteen-month-old son, and it’s hard to think of when he will experience his “first ending of the world.” It’s harder still to think of when the second or third ending will come. Because, one thing is for sure, they will come. Fortunately, we have poetry to prepare us.

Below is the complete text of the poem:


For the kids the first ending of the world.

For the cat a new master.

For the dog a new mistress.

For the furniture stairs, thuds, my way or the highway.

For the walls bright squares where pictures once hung.

For the neighbors new subjects, a break in the boredom.

For the car better if there were two.

For the novels, the poems — fine, what you want.

Worse with encyclopedias and VCRs,

not to mention the guide to proper usage,

which doubtless holds pointers on two names —

are they still linked with the conjunction “and”

or does a period divide them.


Read Casanare, Colombia 2014



One comment

  1. Pingback: The Example | Z e t e o

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