Mappa by Wislawa Szymborska

Lampit 1948-1

Flat as the table

it’s placed upon.

Nothing moves beneath it

and it seeks no outlet.

Above – my human breath

creates no stirring air

and leaves its total surface


Contours and stuff

Its plains, valleys are always green,

uplands, mountains are yellow and brown,

while seas, oceans remain a kindly blue

beside the tattered shores.


Everything here is small, near, accessible.

I can press volcanoes with my fingertip,

stroke the poles without thick mittens,

I can with a single glance

encompass every desert

with the river lying just beside it.

A few trees stand for ancient forests,

you couldn’t lose your way among them.

In the East and West,

above and below the equator –

quiet like pins dropping,

and in every black pinprick

people keep on living.

Rytm V11-1

Mass graves and hidden ruins

are out of the picture.

Nations’ borders are barely visible

as if they wavered- to be or not.

Fleam and Devil Saxton 1576

I like maps because they lie.

Because they give no access to the vicious truth.

Because big-heartedly, good-naturedly

they spread before me a world

not of this world.

Translation by Clare Cavanagh

About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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