Some People Like Poetry

by Wislawa Szymborska | October 28, 1996

Some people—
that means not everyone.
Not even most of them, only a few.
Not counting school, where you have to,
and poets themselves,
you might end up with something like two per thousand.

Like—
but then, you can like chicken noodle soup,
or compliments, or the color blue,
your old scarf,
your own way,
petting the dog.

Poetry—
but what is poetry anyway?
More than one rickety answer
has tumbled since that question first was raised.
But I just keep on not knowing, and I cling to that
like a redemptive handrail.

—Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh.

This poem appeared in the October 28, 1996 issue of the magazine.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/books-and-arts/100289/some-people-poetry