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(Panhala) Nothing is a Gift by Wislawa Szymborska

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  • wdestiny44@aol.com
    NOTHING S A GIFT Nothing s a gift, it s all on loan. I m drowning in debts up to my ears. I ll have to pay for myself with my self, give up my life for my
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2012
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      NOTHING'S A GIFT
       
      Nothing's a gift, it's all on loan.
      I'm drowning in debts up to my ears.
      I'll have to pay for myself
      with my self,
      give up my life for my life.
       
      Here's how it's arranged:
      The heart can be repossessed,
      the liver, too,
      and each single finger and toe.
       
      Too late to tear up the terms,
      my debts will be repaid,
      and I'll be fleeced,
      or, more precisely, flayed.
       
      I move about the planet
      in a crush of other debtors.
      some are saddled with the burden
      of paying off their wings.
      Others must, willy-nilly,
      account for every leaf.
       
      Every tissue in us lies
      on the debit side.
      Not a tenacle or tendril
      is for keeps.
       
      The inventory, infinitely detailed,
      implies we'll be left
      not just empty-handed
      but handless too.
       
      I can't remember
      where, when, and why
      I let someone open
      this account in my name.
       
      We call the protest against this
      the soul.
      And it's the only item
      not included on the list.
       
      ~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
       
      (Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)
       
       
      Web archive of Panhala postings: www.panhala.net/Archive/Index.html
       
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