NOBEL PRIZE LAUREATE IN LITERATURE 1996

Doctor Honoris Causa
Universitatis Studiorum Mickiewiczianae Posnaniensis


3 października 1996:

Wisława Szymborska

urodzona w Bninie (Kórnik) koło Poznania została Laureatką Nagrody Nobla w dziedzinie literatury za "poezję, ktora z ironiczną precyzją pozwala wydobyć historyczny i biologiczny kontekst fragmentów ludzkiej rzeczywistości"
"Jestem uradowana, oszołomiona i przestraszona."


AP
1923-2012

"I am very happy, stunned and frightened."

October 3, 1996:

Wislawa Szymborska

born at Bnin (Kornik) near Poznan, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for "poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"

Cat in an empty apartment

Kot w pustym mieszkaniu

Cat in an empty apartment

Wisława Szymborska, 1993

Dying - you wouldn't do that to a cat.
For what is a cat to do
in an empty apartment?
Climb up the walls?
Brush up against the furniture?
Nothing here seems changed,
and yet something has changed.
Nothing has been moved,
and yet there's more room.
And in the evenings the lamp is not on.

One hears footsteps on the stairs,
but they're not the same.
Neither is the hand
that puts a fish on the plate.

Something here isn't starting
at its usual time.
Something here isn't happening
as it should.
Somebody has been here and has been,
and then has suddenly disappeared
and now is stubbornly absent.

All the closets have been scanned
and all the shelves run through.
Slipping under the carpet and checking came to nothing.
The rule has even been broken and all the papers scattered.
What else is there to do?
Sleep and wait.

Just let him come back,
let him show up.
Then he'll find out
that you don't do that to a cat.
Going toward him
faking reluctance,
slowly,
on very offended paws.
And no jumping, purring at first.

Translated by
Joanna Trzeciak

Umrzeć - tego się nie robi kotu.
Bo co ma począć kot
w pustym mieszkaniu?
Wdrapywać się na ściany?
Ocierać między meblami?
Nic niby tu nie zmienione,
a jednak pozamieniane.
Niby nie przesunięte,
a jednak porozsuwane.
I wieczorami lampa już nie świeci.

Słychać kroki na schodach,
ale to nie te.
Ręka, co kładzie rybę na talerzyk,
także nie ta, co kładła.

Coś się tu nie zaczyna
w swojej zwykłej porze.
Coś się tu nie odbywa
jak powinno.
Ktoś tutaj był i był,
a potem nagle zniknął
i uporczywie go nie ma.

Do wszystkich szaf sie zajrzało.
Przez półki przebiegło.
Wcisnęło się pod dywan i sprawdziło.
Nawet złamało zakaz
i rozrzuciło papiery.
Co więcej jest do zrobienia.
Spać i czekać.

Niech no on tylko wróci,
niech no się pokaże.
Już on się dowie,
że tak z kotem nie można.
Będzie się szło w jego stronę
jakby się wcale nie chciało,
pomalutku,
na bardzo obrażonych łapach,
i żadnych skoków, pisków na początek.

Die - you can't do that to a cat.
Since what can a cat do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls?
Rub up against the furniture?
Nothing seems different here,
but nothing is the same.
Nothing has been moved,
but there's more space.
And at nighttime no lamps are lit.

Footsteps on the staircase,
but they're new ones.
The hand that puts fish on the saucer
has changed, too.

Something doesn't start
at its usual time.
Something doesn't happen
as it should.
Someone was always, always here,
then suddenly disappeared
and stubbornly stays disappeared.

Every closet has been examined.
Every shelf has been explored.
Excavations under the carpet turned up nothing.
A commandment was even broken,
papers scattered everywhere.
What remains to be done.
Just sleep and wait.

Just wait till he turns up,
just let him show his face.
Will he ever get a lesson
on what not to do to a cat.
Sidle toward him
as if unwilling
and ever so slow
on visibly offended paws,
and no leaps or squeals at least to start.

Translated by
Stanislaw Baranczak
& Clare Cavanagh


The Nobel Diploma of Wislawa Szymborska

The Three Oddest Words

Trzy słowa najdziwniejsze

Tre högst besynnerliga ord

Wisława Szymborska, 1996

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.

When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.

Translated by
Stanislaw Baranczak
& Clare Cavanagh

Kiedy wymawiam słowo Przyszłość,
pierwsza sylaba odchodzi już do przeszłości.

Kiedy wymawiam słowo Cisza,
niszczę ją.

Kiedy wymawiam słowo Nic,
stwarzam coś, co nie mieści się w żadnym niebycie.

Medan jag sager ordet Framtid
blir forsta stavelsen forfluten.

Medan jag sager ordet Tystnad
bryter jag den.

Medan jag säger ordet Ingenting
skapar jag nanting som inte ryms i nagot intet

Translated by
Anders Bodegard


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Last updated: 1-02-2012