Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I found myself in a certain mood the other afternoon that requires looking at old pictures and reading old letters. There's a box that I keep in my closet just for when I get in these kinds of moods. Mostly, it has my London memorabilia in it (posters, letters from friends, programs, my IDS portfolio). I found my travel journal that I actually did a pretty decent job of keeping up with for my semester abroad, and I have been reading it for the past day or so now. It's funny to read about things that I did as though it was someone else that did it... I guess the passage of time can do that. The strangest parts to read are when I write about little details or funny things that happened that I don't really remember. I guess that is why I kept a journal. But anyway, I had a written a note to myself (what an odd concept... "dear future me, check this out!") to look up a certain poem that I discovered while in London. I couldn't remember much about it, nor had I written it anywhere in the journal (other than the title and author) so I googled it. I still love the poem... maybe even more now because of the feelings and the memories it brings with it. Here it is:


By Wislawa Szymborska

From "Nothing Twice", 1997
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

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