Monday, July 27, 2015

Purple Loosestrife

Down by the Canal, the purple loosestrife is comng into full bloom.
This dread exotic invader is another scourge of wetlands all over America.
It crowds out cattails and interferes with the food sources of some insects 
and small animals. It turned up here farther up the creek two years ago. Last year
it was closer and across the creek. This year it took advantage of the space
at the foot of our yard where Handyman B. cleared away cottonwood shoots
and ragweed. Now it looks as if it had owned this space forever.
And I must admit it is very pretty!


They did or did not exist.
On an island or not.
The ocean or not the ocean
swallowed them up or didn't.

Was there anyone to love anyone?
Did anyone to fight anyone?
All or nothing happened
there or not there.

Seven cities stood there.
Is that for sure?
Intended to stand there forever.
Where's the evidence?

No they didn't invent the wheel.
Yes, they did invent the wheel.

Presumed. Dubious.

Never pulled out of the air,
or fire, or water, or earth.

Not contained in stone
nor in a raindrop.
Never fit to stand
as a serious warning.

A meteorite fell.
It wasn't a meteorite.
A volcano erupted.
It wasn't a volcano.
Someone was shouting something.
No one, nothing.

On this more-or-less Atlantis.

Wyslawa Szymborska
translated by Joanna Trzeciak

Miracle Fair; selected poems of Wyslawa Szymborska,
W. W. Norton, 2001, pages 105-106.

I love the fresh looks Syzmborska takes at so many of the "accepted" things we learned and read about--in school and elsewhere--in her poems. It's a sort of wry-and-sly acceptance of this-and-that which pleases me very much. I wish I knew what they sounded like in Polish! 

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