Sunday, April 24, 2011

If I were to rank emotions -- as Kundera had in Unbearable Lightness of Being -- regret would top the cruel list, hands down. Strangely, regret seems to me more painful than pain itself. However, lately I have been battling with myself whether regret still holds its place as the cruelest of all human emotions. All because lately I have been putting aside my fear of having regrets and fearing forgetfulness more. Of course, some would argue that forgetting aids survival (and yes, I'm looking at you Eric Gamalinda). Today however, I couldn't sleep as I try to locate a specific poem introduced to me by Ayie a couple of months ago. I couldn't find, not in the tip of the tongue or the innermost corners of the brain, the title nor the author of this Polish poem.

I found it, eventually. With the help of the keywords love, polish and poem. Believe it or not, I found it. And never had I been more thankful for google. So, in case one day my memory betrays me; in case one day (a long long time from now) I succumb to the curse of age, I can trace this poem in my archives (if I remember posting it, that is):

Love at First Sight
by Wislawa Szymborska

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that nothing was happening between them.
What of streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I’d like to ask them
whether they remember–
Perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
An “excuse me” in a crowd?
A curt “wrong number” in the receiver?
But I know the answer:
No, they don’t remember.

They’d be greatly astonished to learn
that for a long time
Chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way,
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
forgotten in waking.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.

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