To Begin

To begin, the origin of the username.

A Few Words on the Soul (Wislawa Szymborska)

We have a soul at times.
No one’s got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

Sometimes
it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It’s picky:
it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren’t two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we’re sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won’t say where it comes from
or when it’s taking off again,
though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

I apologize to coincidence for calling it necessity.

I apologize to necessity just in case I’m mistaken.

Let happiness be not angry that I take it as my own.

Let the dead not remember they scarcely smolder in my memory.

I apologize to time for the muchness of the world overlooked per second.

I apologize to old love for regarding the new as the first.

Forgive me, far-off wars, for bringing flowers home.

Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.

I apologize to those who cry out of the depths for the minuet-record.

I apologize to people at railway stations for sleeping at five in the morning.

Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing now and again.

Pardon me, deserts, for not rushing up with a spoonful of water.

And you, O falcon, the same these many years, in that same cage,

forever staring motionless at that self-same spot,

absolve me, even though you are but a stuffed bird.

I apologize to the cut-down tree for the table’s four legs.

I apologize to big questions for small answers.

O Truth, do not pay me too much heed.

O Solemnity, be magnanimous unto me.

Endure, mystery of existence, that I pluck out the threads of your train.

Accuse me not, O soul, of possessing you but seldom.

I apologize to everything that I cannot be everywhere.

I apologize to everyone that I cannot be every man and woman.

I know that as long as I live nothing can justify me,

because I myself am an obstacle to myself.

Take it not amiss, O speech, that I borrow weighty words,

and later try hard to make them seem light.

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