Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Poem for Monday and Carkeek Shore Life

By Wisława Szymborska 
Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak 

When in danger the sea-cucumber divides itself in two: 
one self it surrenders for devouring by the world, 
with the second it makes good its escape. 

It splits violently into perdition and salvation, 
into fine and reward, into what was and what will be. 

In the middle of its body there opens up a chasm 
with two shores that are immediately alien. 

On one shore death, on the other life. 
Here despair, there hope. 

If a scale exists, the balance does not tip. 
If there is justice, here it is. 

To die as much as necessary, without going too far. 
To grow back as much as needed, from the remnant that survives. 

We know how to divide ourselves, how true, we too. 
But only into a body and an interrupted whisper. 
Into body and poetry. 

On one side the throat, laughter on the other, 
that's light and quickly dying. 

Here a heavy heart, there non omnis moriar, 
just three little words like three feathers in ascent. 

The chasm does not cut us in two. 
The chasm surrounds us.


I had a bunch of things to get done on Monday, including photo editing, laundry, and a trip to Safeway since we never got there over the weekend. It was another beautiful day, so after all that, we walked to the beach, where there were lots of ducks and coots in the sun but the eagles were hiding. 

We watched the end of the Orioles game when we got home, then VICE's Icons Batman episode from last week, then the new episode of Shogun (so much seppuku! reveling in seppuku! Sigh). From the beach at Carkeek Park on Saturday, some of the crabs, sea stars, and other tidepool creatures we saw:

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