View with a grain of sand (Wislawa Szymborska)

We call it a grain of sand,
but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.
It does just fine without a name,
whether general, particular, permanent, passing, incorrect, or apt.
Our glance, our touch mean nothing to it.
It doesn’t feel itself seen and touched.
And that it fell on the windowsill is only our experience,
not its.
For it,
it is no different from falling on anything else with no assurance that it has finished falling or that it is falling still.
The window has a wonderful view of a lake,
but the view doesn’t view itself.
It exists in this world colorless, shapeless, soundless, odorless, and painless.
The lake’s floor exits floorlessly,
and its shore exists shorelessly.
Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry and its waves to themselves are neither singular or plural.
They splash deaf to their own noise on pebbles neither large nor small.

And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless in which the sun sets without setting at all and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.
The wind ruffles it,
its only reason being that it blows.
A second passes.
A second second.
A third.
But they’re three seconds only for us.
Time has passed like a courier with urgent news.
But that’s just our simile.
The character is invented,
his haste is make-believe,
his news inhuman.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost - 1874-1963

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

TO A COIN (Jorge Luis Borges)

Cold and stormy the night I sailed from Montevideo.
As we rounded the Cerro,
I threw from the upper deck
a coin that glinted and winked out in the muddy water,
a gleam of light swallowed by time and darkness.
I felt I had committed an irrevocable act,
adding to the history of the planet
two endless series, parallel, possibly infinite:
my own destiny, formed from anxieties, love and futile upsets
and that of that metal disk
carried away by the water to the quiet depths
or to far-off seas that still wear down
the leavings of Saxon and Viking.
Any moment of mine, asleep or wakeful,
matches a moment of the sightless coin’s.
At times I have felt remorse,
at others, envy
of you, existing, as we do, in time and its labyrinth,
but without knowing it.




No Man Is An Island

John Donn

No man is an island,
entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore,
never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

Call Me a Woman

Nancy R. Smith, copyright 1976

I am twenty-five And when I am called a girl I speak like a girl:
I flirt and giggle and play dumb.
But when I remember I am a woman,
I put away childish things And speak out, and share, and love.

I am thirty-six And when I am called a girl I think like a girl:
I feel incompetent so I serve and help the men around me.
But when I remember I am a woman,
I put away childish things And work and create and achieve.

I am fifty-two And when I am called a girl I understand like a girl:
I let others protect me from the world.
But when I remember I am a woman,
I put away childish things And decide, and risk, and live my own life.

For Every Woman

Nancy R. Smith, copyright 1973

For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong,
there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every woman who is tired of acting dumb,
there is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of “knowing everything.”

For every woman who is tired of being called “an emotional female,”
there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.

For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes,
there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.

For every woman who is tired of being a sex object,
there is a man who must worry about his potency.

For every woman who feels “tied down” by her children,
there is a man who is denied the full pleasures of shared parenthood.

For every woman who is denied meaningful employment or equal pay,
there is a man who must bear full financial responsibility for another human being.

For every woman who was not taught the intricacies of an automobile,
there is a man who was not taught the satisfactions of cooking.

For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation,
there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.