Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Miracle Fair," by Wislawa Szymborska

Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

An ordinary miracle:
in the dead of night
the barking of invisible dogs.

One miracle out of many:
a small, airy cloud
yet it can block a large and heavy moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it's backwards left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches the bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

An everyday miracle:
winds weak to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.

Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.

-- translated by Joanna Trzeciak in the collection Miracle Fair


  1. Lovely poem. How did you find it?

    More please,



    The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

    -Oscar Wilde

  2. Perfect line: Cows are cows.

    Having just used a colon in the above statement, I wonder if it was the translator's decision to use so many in the poem. Visually, they seemed to pop off the computer page.

    That said, I had to read this poem aloud. Sweet and graceful.

  3. Harried mom, I liked that line, too. It reminded me of Billy Collins' poem "Afternoon with Irish Cows."

    Speaking of cows, just this evening, my husband and I were taking a walk and happened upon two lost cows belonging to our neighbors. "How mysterious, how patient and dumbfounded they appeared..." (as Collins says). I alerted the owner, and felt so embarrassed when she gently corrected me, as they were male calves, therefore not "cows." Males or no, they looked pretty dumbfounded all the same....

  4. C. Lenzi,
    Bulls are bulls.
    You must live near Wall Street where bulls run the stock market. Lots of male calves wandering there. :)
    I'll have to read that Collins poem.