A Note (Notatka) by Wislawa Szymborska

Life is the only way

to get covered in leaves,

catch your breath on the sand,

rise on wings;

to be a dog,

or stroke its warm fur;

to tell pain

from everything it’s not;

to squeeze inside events,

dawdle in views,

to seek the least of all possible mistakes.

An extraordinary chance

to remember for a moment

a conversation held

with the lamp switched off;

and if only once

to stumble upon a stone,

end up soaked in one downpour or another,

mislay your keys in the grass;

and to follow a spark on the wind with your eyes;

and to keep on not knowing

something important.

Note: Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. If you have the original, please comment.

Agnes’ song by Lee Chang-dong

How is it over there?
How lonely is it?
Is it still glowing red at sunset?
Are the birds still singing on the way to the forest?
Can you receive the letter I dared not send?
Can I convey…
the confession I dared not make?
Will time pass and roses fade?
Now it’s time to say goodbye
Like the wind that lingers and then goes,
just like shadows
To promises that never came,
to the love sealed till the end.

To the grass kissing my weary ankles
And to the tiny footsteps following me
It’s time to say goodbye
Now as darkness falls
Will a candle be lit again?
Here I pray…
nobody shall cry…
and for you to know…
how deeply I loved you
The long wait in the middle of a hot summer day
An old path resembling my father’s face
Even the lonesome wild flower shyly turning away
How deeply I loved
How my heart fluttered at hearing faint song
I bless you
Before crossing the black river
With my soul’s last breath
I am beginning to dream…
a bright sunny morning…
again I awake blinded by the light…
and meet you…
standing by me.

Note: This poem is originally in Korean. If you have the original version, please leave a comment. Also, I’m not sure if Lee Chang-dong wrote the poem, if you can confirm, please let me know.

A dream within a dream by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow–
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand–
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep–while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you
finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Humanity i love you by E. E. Cummings

Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his
watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you
unflinchingly applaud all
songs containing the words country home and
mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because
when you’re hard up you pawn your
intelligence to buy a drink and when
you’re flush pride keeps

you from the pawn shops and
because you are continually committing
nuisances but more
especially in your own house

Humanity i love you because you
are perpetually putting the secret of
life in your pants and forgetting
it’s there and sitting down

on it
and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death Humanity

i hate you

“Bas ek chup sii lagii hai” by Gulzar

bas ek chup sii lagii hai, nahii.n udaas nahii.n,
kahii.n pe saa.Ns rukii hai, nahii.n udaas nahii.n,
bas ek chup sii lagii hai

ko_ii anokhii nahii.n aisii zi.ndagii lekin
khuub na ho
mili jo –
khuub milii hai.
nahii.n udaas nahii.n
bas ek chup sii lagii hai …

sahar bhii ye raat bhii dopahar bhii milii lekin
hamii.n ne shaam chunii
hamii.n ne –
shaam chunii hai
nahii.n udaas nahii.n
bas ek chup sii lagii hai …

vo daasataa.N jo hamane kahii bhii
hamane likhii
aaj vo –
khud se sunii hai
nahii.n udaas nahii.n
bas ek chup sii lagii hai

Note: I translated this one.

A quietness has taken over, No, not sadness
Somewhere, my breath is trapped, no, not sadness
A quietness has taken over

Not extraordinary, but a life that
is not splendid
the one that I have found
is plenty.
No, not sadness
A quietness has taken over

I was given dawn, this night too, also the day, but
I am the one who chose the evening
I am the one
who chose evening
No, not sadness
Just, a quietness has taken over

That story that I spoke of,
I wrote,
Today, I
heard it from myself
No, not sadness
A quietness has taken over

unconcluded by Gulzar

Note: Translated by Rina Singh. If you know the original verse, please let me know through a comment.

On a white bed
lies a body
a forsaken body
they forgot to bury.
They left
as if death was not
their business.

I hope they come back,
and recognize;

bury me
so I can breathe.

Ask Me by William Stafford

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Yeh Hai Meri Kahani by Unknown

Note: This song is sung by Strings & John Abraham. If you know the lyricist/poet, please leave a comment. I believe it is Anwar Maqsood, if you know otherwise, please let me know.

yeh hai meri kahani
khamosh zindagani
sannata keh raha hai
kyun zulm seh raha hai

ek dastaan purani
tanhayi ki zubani
her zakham khil raha hai
kuch mujh se keh raha hai

chubtay kantay yadoon ke daaman say chunta hoon
girti deewaron ke aanchal mai zinda hoon

bass yeh meri kahani
benishaan nishaani
ek darr beh raha hai
kuch mujh se keh raha hai

bajay pyaar ki shabnum mere gulistaan mein
baraste rehte hain har simt maut ke saye
siyahiyon se ulajh padti hain meri aankhein
koi nahi .. koi bhi nahi jo batlaye
main kitni der ujalon ki raah dekhoon gaa
koi nahi hai koi bhi nahi
na pass na durr

ek pyaar hai
dil ki dharkan
apni chahat ka jo ellan kiye jaati hai
zindagi hai jo jiye jaati hai
khoon k ghoont peay jaati hai
khwaab kaanton se siye jaati hai

ab na koi paas hai
phir bhi ehsaas hai
siyahiyon mai uljhi padi
jeene ki ek aas hai

yadoon ka jungle yeh dil
kaanton se jal thal yeh dil

chubtay kantay yadoon ke daaman say chunta hoon
girti deewaron ke aanchal mai zinda hoon

English Translation by Ayesha Khanna:

this is my story
my voiceless existence
where even silence questions
why I bear such injustice

an ancient tale
hearsay of solitude
where each wound blossoms
to whisper softly to me

where I pick the thorns of my memories
and live behind the veil of falling walls

this, this is my story
my unremarkable mark
where fear trickles down
to whisper softly to me

the dew of love glistens
yet death haunts every corner
eyes weary of inky shadows
but no one … no one to tell
how long till light appears
no one … there is no one
not near, not far

this is love
this heartbeat
that keeps announcing its presence
life is validated by living
that continues persevering
dreams are woven by dreaming

and still i sense
entangled in darkness
an inchoate desire to live

jungle of reminiscences, this heart
strewn with thistles, this heart

where I pick the thorns of my memories
and live behind the veil of falling walls