Sunday, April 03, 2016

NPM: Atlantis

They were or they weren't.
On an island or not.
An ocean or not an ocean
swallowed them up or it didn't.

Was there anyone to love anyone?
Did anybody have someone to fight?
Everything happened or it didn't
there or somewhere else.

Seven cities stood there.
So we think.
They were meant to stand forever.
We suppose.

They weren't up to much, no.
They were up to something, yes.

Hypothetical. Dubious.
Never extracted from air,
fire, water, or earth.

Not contained within a stone
or a drop of rain.
Not suitable for straight-faced use
as a story's moral.

A meteor fell.
Not a meteor.
A volcano exploded.
Not a volcano.
Someone summoned something.
Nothing was called.

On this more-or-less Atlantis.

-- Wislawa Szymborsk (tr Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh):


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