The Three Oddest Words

A poem by Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

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.

I was introduced to Wislawa Szymborska’s poetry by a story on NPR. The one above is one of my favorites, playing as it does self-referentially with language. More examples of her poetry can be found here

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