Tag Archives: poem

Poem: A Word on Statistics

6th March 2017

Out of every hundred people,

those who always know better:
fifty-two.

Unsure of every step:
almost all the rest.

Ready to help,
if it doesn’t take long:
forty-nine.

Always good,
because they cannot be otherwise:
four — well, maybe five.

Able to admire without envy:
eighteen.

Led to error
by youth (which passes):
sixty, plus or minus.

Those not to be messed with:
four-and-forty.

Living in constant fear
of someone or something:
seventy-seven.

Capable of happiness:
twenty-some-odd at most.

Harmless alone,
turning savage in crowds:
more than half, for sure.

Cruel
when forced by circumstances:
it’s better not to know,
not even approximately.

Wise in hindsight:
not many more
than wise in foresight.

Getting nothing out of life except things:
thirty
(though I would like to be wrong).

Balled up in pain
and without a flashlight in the dark:
eighty-three, sooner or later.

Those who are just:
quite a few, thirty-five.

But if it takes effort to understand:
three.

Worthy of empathy:
ninety-nine.

Mortal:
one hundred out of one hundred —
a figure that has never varied yet.

Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak)

What’s Yours

31st July 2008

Poem from the May 12 New Yorker:

One Can Miss Mountains

and pine. One

can dismiss
a whisper’s

revelations
and go on as

before as if
everything were

perfectly fine.
One does. One

loses wonder
among stores

of things.
One can even miss

the basso boom
of the ocean’s

rumpus room
and its rhythm.

A man can leave
this earth

and take nothing
–not even

longing–along
with him.

Todd Boss