Subscribe to Granta today



In the second in a series showcasing important contemporary poets, publishes a new poem by Wislawa Szymborska, the Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet.

Me — a teenager?
If she suddenly stood, here, now, before me,
would I need to treat her as near and dear,
although she’s strange to me, and distant?

Shed a tear, kiss her forehead
for the simple reason
that we share a birthdate?

So many dissimilarities between us
that only the bones are likely still the same,
the cranial vault, the eye sockets.

Since her eyes seem a little larger,
her eyelashes are longer, she’s taller
and the whole body is closely sheathed
in smooth, unblemished skin.

Relatives and friends still link us, it is true,
but in her world almost all are living,
while in mine almost no one survives
from that shared circle.

We differ so profoundly,
talk and think about completely different things.
She knows next to nothing —
but with a doggedness deserving better causes.
I know much more —
but nothing for sure.

She shows me poems,
written in a clear and careful script
that I haven’t used for years.

I read the poems, read them.
Well, maybe that one
if it were shorter
and fixed in a couple of places.
The rest are not encouraging.

Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak

Comments (31)

You need to create an account or log in to comment.


    Mon Jun 02 11:13:43 BST 2014

    Those that are offensive or abusive will be edited or removed and we reserve the right to suspend the accounts of users posting such material. <a href='' title='here' target='_blank'>here</a>

  2. haminai

    Wed Jan 01 07:30:09 GMT 2014

    enjoyed this great and fun article , i like it , i will continue keep your article.

  3. haminai

    Thu Jan 02 08:31:04 GMT 2014 We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.

  4. haminai

    Thu Jan 02 08:42:57 GMT 2014

    You might comment on the demonstration of the blog. You should say that it's first-class. Your blog recap shall swell up your capital.

  5. kushalnai

    Fri Jan 03 09:58:21 GMT 2014

    You could post on the friendless of the blog owner. You may illustrate it's mesmerizing. Your blog feedback may add to your contacts.

  6. Ecigs

    Fri May 30 13:07:29 BST 2014

    An amazing and heart felt. - thanks a lot - what a great read.

  7. SheilaF

    Fri Aug 08 04:43:31 BST 2014

    Hello, This is a very nice post I like it

  8. davidjames

    Tue Jul 22 00:12:58 BST 2014

    Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign!

  9. dinaist

    Sat Feb 08 05:32:03 GMT 2014

    i am very lucky find this site, try visit : or here you can also see this , if lucky try find , and have a nice day all

  10. one

    Tue Jun 17 20:03:35 BST 2014

    great post..

  11. davidjames

    Sun Jul 20 19:38:46 BST 2014

    Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign!
    Home Decorating Ideas

  12. sad quotes

    Fri Sep 12 13:00:48 BST 2014

    Certainly a fantastic piece of work ... It has relevant information. Thanks for posting this. Your blog is so interesting and very informative.Thanks sharing. Definitely a great piece of work Thanks for your work.