Into the Ark

Into the Ark

An endless rain is just beginning.
Into the ark, for where else can you go,
you poems for a single voice,
private exultations,
unnecessary talents,
surplus curiosity,
short-range sorrows and fears,
eagerness to see things from all six sides.

Rivers are swelling and bursting their banks.
Into the ark, all you chiaroscuros and half-tones,
you details, ornaments, and whims,
silly exceptions,
forgotten signs,
countless shades of the color gray,
play for play’s sake,
and tears of mirth.

As far as the eye can see, there’s water and hazy horizon.
Into the ark, plans for the distant future,
joy in difference,
admiration for the better man,
choice not narrowed down to one of two,
outworn scruples,
time to think it over,
and the belief that all this
will still come in handy someday.

For the sake of the children
that we still are,
fairy tales have happy endings.
That’s the only finale that will do here, too.
The rain will stop,
the waves will subside,
the clouds will part
in the cleared-up sky,
and they’ll be once more what clouds overhead ought to be:
lofty and rather lighthearted
in their likeness to things
drying in the sun—
isles of bliss,
lambs,
cauliflowers,
diapers.

– Wislawa Szymborksa

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2 thoughts on “Into the Ark

  1. I LOVE the repeated ark motif and, of course, the happy-ish ending. . .I AM a child of the ’50s after all. But, I am also an editor, daughter and mother of English majors, and I can’t help asking: is the word “out” in the 9th line of the final stanza of the poem correct? Or ought it rather to be “ought”? The sun has just emerged from a cloudy, rainy sky here. No rainbows today, but hope springing nonetheless.

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