Today begins the last quarter of the year, an exciting quarter even with, or perhaps because of continuing events. Because of smoke in the air, the moon last night was orange like a pumpkin, a sign of fall.

Tears come as I intake this poem by Wislawa Szymborska. The more we’re bombarded with “news” filled with lies, the more I go to poetry to survive.  

Questions You Ask Yourself

What do a smile and

handshake hold?

Do your greetings never

keep you as far

apart as other people

sometimes are

when passing judgment

at first glance?

Do you open each human

fate like a


seeking feelings

not in fonts

or formats?

Are you sure you

decipher people completely?

You gave an evasive

word in answering,

a bright joke in place of openness-

how do you tally your losses?

Stunted friendships,

frozen worlds.

Do you know that friendship,

like love, requires teamwork?

Someone missed a step

in this demanding effort.

In your friends’ errors

do you bear no blame?

Someone complained, advised.

How many tears ran dry

before you lent a hand?

Jointly responsible

for the happiness of millennia,

don’t you slight

the single minute

of a tear, a wince?

Do you never overlook

another’s effort?

A glass stood on the table,

no one noticed

until it fell,

toppled by a thoughtless gesture.

Are people really so simple

as far as people go?

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

(Map – collected and last poems, translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak, edited by Clare Cavanagh)

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