Nobel Prize in Literature 1996
from “Here: new poems” Translated from Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2010.
Well then, let's take the Foraminifera.
They lived, since they were, and were, since they lived.
They did what they could since they were able.
In the plural since the plural,
although each one on its own,
in its own, since in its own
small limestone shell.
Time summarized them later
in layers, since layers,
without going into details,
since there's pity in the details.
And so I have before me
two views in one:
a mournful cemetery made
of tiny eternal rests
rising from the sea,
the azure sea, dazzling white cliffs,
cliffs that are here because they are.