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A Little Girl Tugs at the Tablecloth - Wislawa Szymborska

Today, I’m sharing with you yet another piece of writing that explores the innocent wonder of children at play. Wislawa Szymborska is possibly one of my favourite poets. Poetly has shared some of her poems in the past - Classifieds, Psalm and Love at First Sight. The poem I’m sharing today has her characteristic wit, with a metaphysical twang, and the uncanny ability to slip seamlessly, and with conviction, into another’s skin. Her poetry jolts me out of my own circumstances, it gives me a bit of perspective. I am cast out, like a fly from a centrifuge, away from the momentum of my solipsism, only to land on a soft velvet catbasket surveying the mesmerising circus of a universe at play.


Once again you will find the certainty of a mind that has learnt the language of survival from nature, and knows that the only way to be in the world is to find the spot where it gets ticklish; to live each moment with the curiosity of wonder, and the wisdom of childhood. In this vivid tableaux of a girl preparing to tug at a tablecloth in her dining room, perhaps, the actors are inanimate things - furniture, knick knacks, mundane objects. But for the little girl, they are fascinating actors in an elaborate drama that is unfolding when no one is looking. For a moment, just one moment, we are that child, relishing the prospect of upending the carefully laid out sangfroid of an ordinary day.


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