I could have been a cloud on Jupiter

When the inevitability of one’s life-package and its path becomes evident and one realises that nothing could possibly be other-than-it-is, the sweetest awe and appreciation flood into the space left empty by the imaginary controller.  It’s often misunderstood, this disappearance of the doer, and explained away with all manner of hypothetical imaginings. Actually, it isn’t understandable or able to be conceptualised by means of any erudite definition or name.  Best then, to leave the labels alone and keep silent unless confessing one’s own experience.  

Wislawa Szymborska’s poem didn’t fall from my own pen, but it expresses to perfection the astonishment and gratefulness I experience as I reflect upon the wondrous “coincidence” of the life-pack I call mine.  This is probably my favourite poem of 2017.


Clouds on Jupiter photographed by NASA's Juno

 

I am who I am.
A coincidence no less unthinkable
than any other.
 
I could have different
ancestors, after all.
I could have fluttered
from another nest
or crawled bescaled
from another tree.
 
Nature’s wardrobe
holds a fair
supply of costumes:
Spider, seagull, fieldmouse.
each fits perfectly right off
and is dutifully worn
into shreds.
 
I didn’t get a choice either,
but I can’t complain.
I could have been someone
much less separate.
someone from an anthill, shoal, or buzzing swarm,
an inch of landscape ruffled by the wind.
 
Someone much less fortunate,
bred for my fur
or Christmas dinner,
something swimming under a square of glass.
 
A tree rooted to the ground
as the fire draws near.
 
A grass blade trampled by a stampede
of incomprehensible events.
 
A shady type whose darkness
dazzled some.
What if I’d prompted only fear,
Loathing,
or pity?
 
If I’d been born
in the wrong tribe
with all roads closed before me?
 
Fate has been kind
to me thus far.
 
I might never have been given
the memory of happy moments
 
My yen for comparison
might have been taken away.
 
I might have been myself minus amazement,
that is,
someone completely different.

– Wislawa Szymborska

 


Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska


Photograph of clouds on Jupiter, courtesy of NASA.


 

4 thoughts on “I could have been a cloud on Jupiter

  1. What a gift, dear Louisa – and happy new year to you, as Miriam Luoisa…oh,i mixed the letters – now, would that give you a surprising surprise on January 1st maybe? let me know :)xoxox

    • Takuin! Good to hear from you. It’s been a while…

      Thanks for your words – very fierce (to match your avatar).

      I would have used that language once. Not now though.

      These days I say:
      Embrace what is and see what happens.

      With a broad grin and a deep bow,

      ml

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