“Love at First Sight” by Wislawa Szymborska
Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.
Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that nothing was happening between them.
What of streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?
I’d like to ask them
whether they remember–
Perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
An “excuse me” in a crowd?
A curt “wrong number” in the receiver?
But I know the answer:
No, they don’t remember.
They’d be greatly astonished to learn
that for a long time
Chance had been playing with them.
Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way,
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side.
There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?
There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
forgotten in waking.
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.
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- barafundle-girl said: great translation!