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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Wislawa Szymborska: Children of Our Age ("To acquire a political meaning / you don’t even have to be human")

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#Drone pic of refugees at #Bregana crossing between Croatia and #Slovenia: image via Oliver Varney @Oliver Varney, 19 September 2015

We are children of our age,  
it’s a political age.

All day long, all through the night,  
all affairs -- yours, ours, theirs --  
are political affairs.

Whether you like it or not,  
your genes have a political past,  
your skin, a political cast,  
your eyes, a political slant.

Whatever you say reverberates,  
whatever you don’t say speaks for itself.  
So either way you’re talking politics.

Even when you take to the woods,  
you’re taking political steps  
on political grounds.

Apolitical poems are also political,  
and above us shines a moon  
no longer purely lunar.  
To be or not to be, that is the question.  
and though it troubles the digestion  
it’s a question, as always, of politics.

To acquire a political meaning  
you don’t even have to be human.  
Raw material will do,  
or protein feed, or crude oil,

or a conference table whose shape  
was quarreled over for months:  
Should we arbitrate life and death  
at a round table or a square one.

Meanwhile, people perished,  
animals died,  
houses burned,  
and the fields ran wild  
just as in times immemorial  
and less political.

Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012): Children of Our Age, 1993, from People on the Bridge, 1986, in Poems New and Collected (1988), translated by Stanisław Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh


#refugees at #Gyor this dawn. #refugeecrisis is not over in #Hungary yet. [photo AFP]: image via Migration Aid Hungary @MigrationAidHu, 19 September 2015

Constant inflow of #refugees at #Tovarnik [Croatia] too [photo AFP]: image via Migration Aid Hungary @MigrationAidHu, 19 September 2015

 
#Croatia said it had reached saturation point after more than 14,000 migrants arrived in 48 hours: image via AFP Photo Department @AFPphoto, 19 September 2015

 
#Croatia said it had reached saturation point after more than 14,000 migrants arrived in 48 hours: image via AFP Photo Department @AFPphoto, 19 September 2015

Hungary activists race to help migrants by smartphone: image via Agence France-Presse  @AFP, 19 September 2015

#BREAKING Croatia will continue to redirect migrants to Hungary border, says PM: image via Agence France-Presse  @AFP, 19 September 2015

 
#Turkey: Alameddin, a 13-year-old Syrian boy plays the violin in front of a police barricade near Edirne. @Kilicbil: image via AFP Photo Department @AFPphoto, 19 September 2015
 
A migrant holds his sleeping child as he queues at a camp to register after crossing the Macedonian-Greek border: image via Stéphane Arnaud @stephanearnaud, 19 September 2015


Migrants blocked in Turkey inch towards Greek border #photo by @Kilicbil: image via Agence France-Presse  @AFP, 19 September 2015

Migrants at Turkey-Greece border demand passage to Europe: image via Agence France-Presse  @AFP, 19 September 2015 


Migrants blocked in Turkey inch towards Greek border #photo by @Kilicbil: image via Agence France-Presse  @AFP, 19 September 2015 

Men travelling alone are left aside on the bridge of Europe #Harmica #refugeecrisis #migrants #Croatia #Slovenia: image via Clément Martel Verified account @martelclem, 19 September 2015
  
Not sure if/when Slovenia will let refugees in, for now they're stuck sleeping on the ground : image via matthew cassel @matthew cassel, 19 September 2015

Refugees and migrants leaving Zagreb with this map - 6.5 hrs on foot to #Slovenia: image via Piers Scholfield @inglesi, 17 September 2015 

Maintaining a visible presence - at the end of a long lens - Hungary military and riot police
: image via Piers Scholfield @inglesi, 19 September 2015
 
#Macedonia: A boy looks out from a broken window after boarding a train heading to Serbia. Photo Nikolay Doychinov: image via AFP Photo Department @AFPphoto, 19 September 2015 

7 comments:

L'Enfant de la Haute Mer said...

#Turkey: Alameddin, a 13-year-old Syrian boy plays the violin in front of a police barricade near Edirne.
............
This is really terrible..
Kos, Rodos, Lesvos, Farmakonisi, Symi, Samos, Leros... Refugees arriving in Pireus, only to go to Lavrion or Sindos....

TC said...

European Migrant Crisis: Caught between Croatia and Hungary: Channel 4 News, 18 September 2015

Refugee crisis: Riot police use pepper spray at Slovenia border, 19 September 2015

Sandra said...

I am amazed at the too many words that are related with the word "political"
politically, adverb
antipolitical, adjective
antipolitically, adverb
nonpolitical, adjective
nonpolitically, adverb
overpolitical, adjective
overpolitically, adverb
prepolitical, adjective
prepolitically, adverb
pseudopolitical, adjective
quasi-political, adjective
quasi-politically, adverb
subpolitical, adjective
subpolitically, adverb
unpolitical, adjective
unpolitically, adverb

Wooden Boy said...

And so every Polis shuts its gate.

These particular fields of our grand failure of compassion are rank with historical and political significance. Something sour and vicious is returning to the old ravaged grounds.

Hazen said...

Borders are just imaginary lines drawn on the earth. But cross one while trying to escape a disaster not of your own making and you suddenly find yourself a political outcast, a non-person in a no-where place, “unwelcome and unwanted”. Compassion might be there for the first few days, for the first few thousand stateless persons, but when it cuts into profits and begins to erode the power base, that's when the real world drops the razor-wire curtain.

TC said...

Curious the way echoes of the loud silence of the old factories (and camps), and traces of the old metal, the iron that was once thought to be a dietary essential, return now to fortify the renascent xenophobic aryan warrior blood, every little hatfield and mccoy clan-hollow atavistic nationalism trans-substantiating the new medieval ideology of this swamped and sinking at new low moral tide fortress europe.

TC said...

Stanislaw Baranczak: "The typical lyrical situation on which a Szymborska poem is founded is the confrontation between the directly stated or implied opinion on an issue and the question that raises doubt about its validity. The opinion not only reflects some widely shared belief or is representative of some widespread mind-set, but also, as a rule, has a certain doctrinaire ring to it: the philosophy behind it is usually speculative, anti-empirical, prone to hasty generalizations, collectivist, dogmatic and intolerant."