Here is a marvellous poem by the Nobel Prize winning Polish poet Wisława Szymborska. It is called “View with a Grain of Sand.” Never before have I seen a poem about things written from the decidedly non-human stance of the things themselves. See what you think:
View with a Grain of Sand
We call it a grain of sand, but it calls itself neither grain nor sand. It does just fine without a name, whether general, particular, permanent, passing, incorrect, or apt. Our glance, our touch mean nothing to it. It doesn’t feel itself seen and touched. And that it fell on the windowsill is only our experience, not its. For it, it is no different from falling on anything else with no assurance that it is finished falling or that it is falling still. The window has a wonderful view of a lake, but the view doesn’t view itself. It exists in this world colorless, shapeless, soundless, odorless, and painless. The lake’s floor exists floorlessly, and its shore exists shorelessly. Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry and its waves to themselves are neither singular nor plural. They splash deaf to their own noise On pebbles neither large nor small. And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless in which the sun sets without setting at all and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud. The wind ruffles it, its only reason being that it blows. A second passes. A second second. A third. But they’re three seconds only for us. Time has passed like a courier with urgent news. But that’s just our simile. The character is invented, his haste is make-believe, his news inhuman.
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