Friday 2 May 2008

More Szymborska

Constant effort to keep to a routine. This morning, starting early, but already I can see my day unravelling , in terms of what I want to do. Higher priorities.

Reading Ondaatje: one book I've read is Running in the family, autobiographical and prose. I always want to know the background of writers I have to review, though did not find anything much about Szymborska when I reviewed View with a Grain of Salt.
Which reminds me: to my pleasure, one of her poems was read out at the Holocaust Memorial ceremony last night, a beautiful one entitled 'Could have'

It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.

You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others,
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.

You were in luck - there was a forest.
You were in luck - there were no trees.
You were in luck - a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake.
A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant...

So you're here? Still dizzy from
another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn't be more shocked or
how your heart pounds inside me.
When I interviewed Dorah, who survived WWII in Holland working courageously for the underground, that was the refrain: I was lucky, just as Szymborska writes at the heart of this poem.

Time's up.

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