Place Mark

2006 | White Oak, MDF

Children of an Epoch | Wislawa Szymborska
We are the children of an epoch,

the epoch is political.

Everything of yours, ours, theirs,
daytime affairs, night-time affairs,
are political affairs.

Like it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin has a political hue,
and your eyes a political aspect.

What you speak about has resonance,
What you hush has a voice
more or less political.

Even walking through field or forest
you take political steps
on a political basis.

Apolitical verses are also political,
and the moon above is shininga thing no longer moonly.
To be or not to be, that is the question.
What kind of question? answer, my dear.
A political question.

You don’t even have to be a human being
to profit from political significance.
It’s suffices for you to be crude oil,
animal feed or recycled materials.

Or a conference table, about whose shape
they debated for months
as though it were a matter of life or death:
should it be round or square?

Meanwhile people perished,
animals died,
homes burned
and fields went to seed
as they did in less political
bygone epochs. 

Translated by Walter Whipple