Found a new (to me) poet today. Thankfully didn’t notice it was a translation till I’d already bought it.
Interview with a Child
The master hasn’t been among us long.
That’s why he lurks in every corner.
he covers his face with his hands and peers through the gap.
Standing, forehead to the wall, he suddenly turns.
The master rejects with distaste the absurd thought
that a table lost from view must remain a table,
that the chair behind his back stays within the boundaries of a chair
without even trying to take advantage of the situation.
True, it’s hard to catch the world in its otherness.
The apple tree returns to the window before you can bat an eye.
The rainbow-colored sparrows always darken just in time.
The handle, the pitcher’s ear, will catch any murmur.
The nighttime closet feigns the passivity of the daytime closet.
The drawer tries to convince the master
that all that’s in there is what was put in earlier.
Even when a book of fairy tales is suddenly opened,
the princess always gets to her seat in the picture.
They sense a newcomer in me — the master sighs —
they don’t want to let a stranger play with thtem.
But how come everything that exists
is forced to exist in only one way
in a miserable state, with no escape from itself,
without pause or change of pace? In the humble here-to-there?
A fly trapped in a fly? A mouse trapped in a mouse?
A dog never turned loose from its hidden chain?
A fire, without the nerve to do anything
but burn the master’s trusting finger a second time?
Is this the true ultimate world:
scattered wealth impossible to gather,
useless splendor, forbidden possibility?
No! — the master shouts and stomps all the feet
he can muster — in such enormous despair,
that even the six legs of a cricket would not suffice.
Wislawa Szymoborska, Miracle Fair
trans. Joanna Trzeciak
(you might think I should have noticed it was a translation,
but it was a rapid hunt before boarding a train.)