not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Monday, October 28, 2013

not political

(the lake which is not Birch Lake, September 18, 2013)

Children of the Epoch by Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from the Polish by Austin Flint)

We are the children of the epoch.
The epoch is political.

All my daily and nightly affairs,
all your daily and nightly affairs,
are political affairs.

Whether you want it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin has a political hue,
and your eyes a political aspect.
What you say resounds,
what you don't say is also
politically significant.

Even coming through the rye,
you walk with political steps
on political ground.

Apolitical poems are also political,
and in the sky there's a moon
that's no longer moonlike.

To be or not to be, that is a question.
Oh darling, what a question, give a suggestion.
A political question.

You don't have to be human
to acquire a political meaning.
It's enough to be petroleum,
cattle fodder, raw material,
or just a conference table whose shape
was disputed for months.

In the meantime, people were killed.
Animals died,
houses burned,
fields grew wild,
as in distant
and less political epochs.

(*In Austin Flint's translation the third stanza reads:

Whether you want it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin a political tone,
your eyes a political color.

I have opted to include a partial translation here by Walter Whipple to my own preference, not necessarily reflecting the original.)


  1. Hmmm? Nature in and of itself is not political. We are and we can apply politic to anything but in and of themselves other than humnans, all else in non-political

    my thoughts on this. sorry for imposing my politic :-)

  2. we have serious reasons to hate politics because we often associate with corrupt politicians, but I agree with the text, all our actions transcend politics.
    I changed my url, the new is:

  3. flott med det sterke røde farge !

  4. Tout ce qui est écrit, là, Erin , est juste. Nous sommes toujours de notre temps, de notre époque et par concéquent, aussi des êtres politiques. Tant que nous gardons le droit de choisir ceux qui nous gouvernent, de la changer lorsqu'ils ne sont pas conformes à nos idées, nous sommes en démocratie, relativement libres. Car, malheureusement, il y abeaucoup de démagogues qui prêchent la bonne parole et cette parole est comme l'eau du lac. Nous y voyons une belle image et puis, plouf, nous tombons dans le lac et nous y noyons notre liberté.
    Il est bien difficile de défendre la liberté de pensée. Je pense que les poètes sont encore des hommes libres et que leur parole devrait être plus écoutée par les politiques.
    Merci pour ce bel envoi et cette magnifique photo. Belle journée à toi, Erin

    Post scriptum : je t'ai dédicacé une nouvelle création sur mon blog, en toute amitié.

  5. Nobody does red (in all her many shades) like Mama Nature. Exquisite, magical photo, Erin. xo

  6. That photo is beyond amazing. It is magical.


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))