Wisława Szymborska: “Brueghel’s Two Monkeys”


This is what I see in my dreams about final exams:
two monkeys, chained to the floor, sit on the windowsill,
the sky behind them flutters,
the sea is taking its bath.

The exam is History of Mankind.
I stammer and hedge.

One monkey stares and listens with mocking disdain,
the other seems to be dreaming away–
but when it’s clear I don’t know what to say
he prompts me with a gentle
clinking of his chain.

Wisława Szymborska

Translation by Stanisław Barańczak & Clare Cavanagh


~ by matt on 7 April 2008.

7 Responses to “Wisława Szymborska: “Brueghel’s Two Monkeys””

  1. Ti segnalo un blog collettivo a cui collaboro, dove troverai una lettura e un dipinto di Roberto Matarazzo dedicato a Wisława Szymborska


    Un saluto

  2. … dimenticavo, la lettura è di A. Fiori 🙂

  3. […] public links >> szymborska Wisława Szymborska: “Brueghel’s Two Monkeys” Saved by pinkveneer on Wed 22-10-2008 Monday quote Saved by paolomossino on Wed 15-10-2008 Je […]

  4. This is not a very good translation.

  5. Thanks Sarah. Why do you say that?

  6. […] of which I found through this aggregation assembled by the University of Buffalo), particularly “Brueghel’s Two Monkeys.” Her poems are carefully observed, ironic, sometimes cuttingly so, yet without the least trace of […]

  7. I would disagree, although of course poems always lose something in translation, this one seems pretty good to me. It gives the same vibe as the original.

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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