to the small poem and the quiet voice within

wislawa szymborska | abc



I’ll never find out now
What A. thought of me.
If B. ever forgave me in the end.
Why C. pretended everything was fine.
What part D. played in E’s silence.
What F. had been expecting, if anything.
Why G. forgot when she knew perfectly well.
What H. had to hide.
What I. wanted to add.
If my being around
meant anything
to J. and K. and the rest of the alphabet.

[from The New Yorker, December, 2004]


  1. Nancy

    A is for Awe, how nice.
    B is for Brave.
    C is for Come on.
    D is for Dance!

  2. carol gresko

    Ever since grade school I have had a passion for:
    Hand writing
    The Alphabet
    Alphabetical order
    All things about the alphabet…… ours and others
    They wrote on clay
    They carved steles
    I wrote on textiles
    ……………and how about tea and a snack at the camp today Sunday, 1:30?
    I’ll watch YOU play with the ABC stuff in your inimitable way.

    • Rick Goranowski

      The Thirty Years War
      Sparked by Martin Luther
      Who translated the Bible and Qu’ran to stir
      His Gutenburg-literate flock’s core
      Beliefs which held aloft no statuary martyrs;
      No gold poured as goblets filled with intoxicants;
      No saints; no granite-buttressed monuments;
      Just the Plainsong Church’s wooden four corners
      Whose doors slammed shut
      Against the Medici Roman Curia
      And its extortionate
      Indulgences taxed under Medici Papist Law
      Were seen as food taken off Reformist children’s plates–
      Islamic dominion was favored over a Catholic Hapsburg’s State.

      Thus, for thirty years, the draconian machinery
      Of War and Plague lopped heads and limbs
      Destined for frozen indiscriminate ends
      In an Inferno designed by Dante.
      Twenty-five percent of Germania
      Died in it, well-precedented as well-oppressed
      Evolving industrial warfare which later blitzed
      Jewry in World-War II’s Germanic Golgotha.
      Yet Fear and Temptation are objective
      and subjective as Doubt and Despair
      Done in Luther’s applied perspective
      When realistically addressed to the “vivid air” [Spender]
      As from his pulpit before the Stake of Reform
      Burned brighter than Marx in the ensuing global storm.

      — Billevich to Radziwill,
      “Whoso has done more for his country in these times, let him stand before my eyes.”
      “True, a blind man could see that; but it will be very sad for the nobles that a free election will cease.”
      “And which is more important, — an election or the country?”
      “They are the same, your highness; for an election is the main basis of the Commonwealth.
      Deluge II, 522 Sienkiewicz/Curtin

      Who shall lead?
      Well then, Boguslav Radziwill!
      Self-assigned with Duchies to tax-bill;
      Who so else shall heed?
      For funds, armaments, troops and cannon
      to support the law with arms and chivalry
      Led by his family prized to this modern day
      For Radzivill of Birji, who was able to alone
      Change the religious conflict to Prussian Elector politics
      To abolish the rule of Rzeszpublic Schlacta,
      Polish Noble Electors who mimic the Greeks;
      In barring slaves and women from the Pact
      Must then this “Electoral” business detract
      From local rule and tax collection for the Swedes
      Into Autocrat Radziwill’s coffers, must needs!

      “And what is the country, if not a collection of laws,
      privileges, and liberties serving the nobles?
      A king can be found even in a foreign land.” Passim, Kmicic.

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