“True Love”

Szymborska, Wislawa. “True Love.” Poems New and Collected 1957 – 1997. 1998. Trans. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. San Diego: Harcourt, Inc., 2000.

I couldn’t help but think of Natalie Merchant singing “Jealousy” when I read this poem for the first time. It sounds spiteful and catty. It could have been written by someone sitting alone on prom night or someone with no one to kiss on New Year’s Eve. That wallflower with the mad-enough-to-spit-nails attitude. It’s sad and snarly. The echo of longing for a relationship is loud and resonating and clear and yet, the poem speaks of true love being a farce, a joke, something he or she cannot possibly believe in.

As an aside…I have been struggling with what to say at my cousin’s burial. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the guy. It’s the love that has me livid. I’m thinking if I had been a little less loving while he was alive this wouldn’t hurt so much NOW. There is truth to not believing in love.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Polish Poetry and Prose” (p 188).

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