Under a Certain Little Star
By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by Joanna Trzeciak
My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity in case I'm mistaken.
Don't be angry, happiness, that I take you for my own.
May the dead forgive me that their memory's but a flicker.
My apologies to time for the quantity of world overlooked per second.
My apologies to an old love for treating a new one as the first.
Forgive me, far-off wars, for carrying my flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
My apologies for the minuet record, to those calling out from the abyss.
My apologies to those in train stations for sleeping soundly at five in the morning.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing sometimes.
Pardon me, deserts, for not rushing in with a spoonful of water.
And you, O hawk, the same bird for years in the same cage,
staring, motionless, always at the same spot,
absolve me even if you happen to be stuffed.
My apologies to the tree felled for four table legs.
My apologies to large questions for small answers.
Truth, do not pay me too much attention.
Solemnity, be magnanimous toward me.
Bear with me, O mystery of being, for pulling threads from your veil.
Soul, don't blame me that I've got you so seldom.
My apologies to everything that I can't be everywhere.
My apologies to all for not knowing how to be every man and woman.
I know that as long as I live nothing can excuse me,
since I am my own obstacle.
Do not hold it against me, O speech, that I borrow weighty words,
and then labor to make them light.
This will be quick because Jon Stewart (in my city for a week of Indecision 2010 coverage before the rally next weekend) is making me laugh too hard to type, which Dementordelta did earlier while she was here with the Star Wars holiday special earlier. First, though, we went Halloween shopping -- at A.C. Moore, World Market, and the temporary Halloween store in between them, followed by a fabulous lunch at La Madeleine which is in the same shopping center (I had tomato soup, pasta salad, and the best spinach quiche ever), then at Claire's, Hot Topic, Torrid, Bath & Body Works, and the temporary Halloween store at the mall (where I was very virtuous mostly because I had coupons for so many freebies at B&BW that I didn't actually have to spend money).
Then we came back to my house, where we had gotten in the mood to watch A Knight's Tale from a conversation in the car about how people make clothing out of curtains more often in fake historical movies than actual historical stories, and it was wonderful as always. But the highlight of the afternoon for me was watching the aforementioned Star Wars Holiday Special, which I had only seen once before...when it originally aired in 1978. This is a rare instance when something was actually as completely awful as I had remembered, possibly the worst two hours of television in history! My kids watched with us, since the show is legendary for how terrible it is, and we all laughed a great deal, though not at the "comedy" attempted in the show. It's worth looking at the TV Tropes page for some descriptions of the nightmare.
Here are a few more photos from our visit to Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.
As I'm sure I mentioned, it was a gorgeous day to visit the campus...
...with students and squirrels alike enjoying the fall weather.
Though the school is in downtown Baltimore, the campus is quite pretty, with a garden in the center and Baltimore's art museum on one side.
There are several sculptures of animals in the garden...
...and a sculpture of a tree stump by the administration buildings.
This robotic car was built by engineering students for a robotics competition.
And this is the entrance to the main campus library, with the flags of the four current classes on display.