A poem about a sanitation worker by Wisława Szymborska.

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  • Dan Campbell, USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project
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A poem about a sanitation worker by Wisława Szymborska.

Hello

I wanted to share this poem about a sanitation worker by one of my favorite poets, Wisława Szymborska.

Ktoś, kogo obserwuję od pewnego czasu (Someone I've Been Observing for Some Time) - a poem from the Wystarczy collection, written by Wisława Szymborska in 2010

Someone I've been observing for some time

He doesn't come collectively.
He doesn't crowd together.
He doesn't take part en masse.
He doesn't revel noisily.

He doesn't call out
as a choir.
He doesn't declare far and wide.
He doesn't speak on behalf.
None of this questioning
in his presence -
who is for, and who is against,
thank you, I can't see.

His head is missing,
where head to head,
where step to step, shoulder to shoulder
and straight to the target,
with flyers in pockets
and a product of hops.

Where only at the beginning
is it bucolic and angelic,
because soon one group
will mix with the other
and it won't be certain
whose are, ah, whose are
these rocks and flowers,
cheers and sticks.

Indistinct.
Unspectacular.
He's employed by the City Sanitation Bureau.
At pale dawn,
from the place where it was happening,
he gathers, takes away, throws into the dumpster,
what is tacked to trees half-living,
what is trampled into the grass.

Ripped banners,
Broken bottles,
Burned effigies,
Gnawed bones,
Rosaries, whistles and condoms.

Once he found a pigeon cage in the bushes.
He took it home
and keeps it
so it can remain empty.

The volume was released by the a5 Publishing House in Poland on the 20th of April 2012.

Poem translated by Agnieszka Le Nart

Dan Campbell
USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project
ECODIT
1901 N. Moore St, Suite 1004
Arlington, VA 22209
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