Nothing can ever happen twice. In consequence, the sorry fact is that we arrive here improvised and leave without the chance to practice. Even if there is no one dumber, if you're the planet's biggest dunce, you can't repeat the class in summer: this course is only offered once. No day copies yesterday, no two nights will teach what bliss is in precisely the same way, with precisely the same kisses. One day, perhaps some idle tongue mentions your name by accident: I feel as if a rose were flung into the room, all hue and scent. The next day, though you're here with me, I can't help looking at the clock: A rose? A rose? What could that be? Is it a flower or a rock? Why do we treat the fleeting day with so much needless fear and sorrow? It's in its nature not to stay: Today is always gone tomorrow. With smiles and kisses, we prefer to seek accord beneath our star, although we're different (we concur) just as two drops of water are.
translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak
In memory of Wisława Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012), Nobel Prize Winner in Literature