post-war experience for the youth


We used to know the world inside out:
It was so small that it fitted into two clenched fists, So easy, that it could be described with a smile,
As ordinary as the echo of old truths in a prayer.

History did not greet us with a victorious fanfare: It poured dirty sand into our eyes.
Before us there were roads, distant and blind, Poisoned wells, bitter bread.

Our war loot was information about the world: It is so big that it fits into two clenched fists, So difficult that it can be described with a smile, As strange as the echo of old truths in a prayer.


Wisława Szymborska, 1945


In this untitled piece, the noble prize-winning poet, WisŁAWA SYZMBORSka portrayed the post- war experience for the youth. the polish poet’s early works engaged with the way to cope with disintegration of reality. This poem was published in Dziennik Polski, a polish newspaper, in 1945.



poem I wrote sitting across the table from you


if I had two nickels to rub together I would rub them together

like a kid rubs sticks together until friction made combustion

and they burned
a hole in my pocket

into which I would put my hand and then my arm

and eventually my whole self– I would fold myself

into the hole in my pocket and disappear
into the pocket of myself, or at least my pants

but before I did
like some ancient star

I’d grab your hand


Kevin Varrone, 2013



Kevin Varrone explained his writing process of this romantic ideal titled poem. He said, “I was at a coffee shop working on a long poem: I overheard someone say that bit about rubbing two nickels together, and glad for the distraction, I thought way too much about that saying and somehow it turned into a kind of love poem. It’s a procrastination poem, I suppose, but love poems always seem to be for me.”

  • Text

    Isabella Aprilia

    • share via