A Poem For Saturday

Andrew Sullivan —  May 5 2012 @ 7:22pm

From "In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself" by Wislawa Szymborska, translated by Stanislav Baraczak and Clare Cavanagh:

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn’t know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they’d claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn’t understand remorse.
Lions and lice don’t waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they’re right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
In every other sense they’re light.

On this third planets of the sun
Among the signs of bestiality
A clear conscience is Number One.

Lawrence Weschler remembers when Szymborska won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996:

She lived very modestly in this apartment and hadn’t travelled much and she goes to Stockholm and they put her in the nicest hotel in town, in the penthouse, which is a whole city block, and she spends the night before the Nobel speech sleeping in the bathtub because the bathroom is the only room in the penthouse where she can figure out how to work the lights. She was not a terribly worldly person, but her poetry encompassed worlds.

Dustin Rowles comments on the video above:

If I were the parent, I wouldn’t be nearly as trusting as these guys were about the impenetrability of that glass. That lion looked pissed