Sky

by Wislawa Szymborska | May 25, 1998

The sky is where we should have started.
A window without a windowsill, without a frame, without a pane.
An opening wide open, with nothing
beyond it.

I don’t have to wait for a starry night,
nor crane my neck,
to look at the sky.
I have the sky behind me, and close at hand and on my eyelids.
It is the sky that wraps me tight
and raises me from underneath.

The highest mountains
are no closer than the deepest valleys
to the sky.
No place has any more of it
than any other place.
A cloud is as thoroughly
crushed by the sky as a grave.
A mole is as high, sky high
as an owl beating its wings.
Whatever falls into an abyss,
falls from sky to sky.

Friable, fluid, rocky,
flammable, volatile stretches
of sky, crumbs of sky,
gusts of sky, heaps of sky.
Sky is omnipresent,
even in darkness under the skin.

I eat the sky, I excrete the sky.
I’m a trap in a trap,
an inhabited inhabitant,
an embrace embraced,
a question that answers a question.

Dividing earth and sky
is not the right way
to think about this wholeness.
It only allows one to live
at a more precise address—
were I to be searched for
I’d be found much faster.
My distinguishing marks
are rapture and despair.

—Translated by Joanna Trzeciak.

This poem appeared in the May 25, 1998 issue of the magazine.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/books-and-arts/100295/sky