Sunday, April 15, 2012

Poem in my Post: A Cat in an Empty Apartment

Poem in Your Post:  A Cat in an Empty Apartment by Wislawa Szymborska  1923-2012

Today, I have chosen to highlight Wislawa Szymborska.  I have recently learned of this Polish poet from my BookWoman magazine and I wanted to highlight Wislawa most famous poem, A Cat in an Empty Apartment.  I am of Polish descent and feel drawn to this Nobel Prize winner from 1996.  A Cat in an Empty Apartment is frequently memorized and recited by Polish citizens.  Szymborska is one of their most celebrated poets. 
A Cat in an Empty Apartment.
Die? One does not do that to a cat.
Because what's a cat to do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls.
Caress against the furniture.
It seems that nothing has changed here,
but yet things are different.
Nothing appears to have been relocated,
yet everything has been shuffled about.
The lamp no longer burns in the evenings.

Footsteps can be heard on the stairway,
but they're not the ones.
The hand which puts the fish on the platter
is not the same one which used to do it.

Something here does not begin
at its usual time.
Something does not happen quite
as it should
Here someone was and was,
then suddenly disappeared
and now is stubbornly absent. All the closets were peered into.
The shelves were walked through.
The rug was lifted and examined.
Even the rule about not scattering
papers was violated.

What more is to be done?
Sleep and wait.

Let him return,
at least make a token appearance.
Then he'll learn
that one shouldn't treat a cat like this.
He will be approached
as though unwillingly,
on very offended paws.
With no spontaneous leaps or squeals at first.

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