Trump’s border wall and Wisława Szymborska poem


This 25 August 2019 video says about itself:

Kashmir border fence, forest fires endanger wildlife

It is not just humans who are suffering in the fight over Kashmir territory.

Kashmir’s dense forests are home to many species of wild cats, bears, deer, goats, monkeys and birds.

But border fencing and forest fires caused by shelling are putting the wildlife in the Himalayan region at risk.

Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reports from the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

This is a 1976 poem by Wisława Szymborska from Poland, called Psalm.

Oh, the leaky boundaries of man-made states!
How many clouds float past them with impunity;
how much desert sand shifts from one land to another;
how many mountain pebbles tumble onto foreign soil
in provocative hops!

Need I mention every single bird that flies in the face of frontiers
or alights on the roadblock at the border?
A humble robin – still, its tail resides abroad
while its beak stays home. If that weren’t enough, it won’t stop bobbing!

Among innumerable insects, I’ll single out only the ant
between the border guard’s left and right boots
blithely ignoring the questions “Where from?” and “Where to?”

Oh, to register in detail, at a glance, the chaos
prevailing on every continent!
Isn’t that a privet on the far bank
smuggling its hundred-thousandth leaf across the river?
And who but the octopus, with impudent long arms,
would disrupt the sacred bounds of territorial waters?

And how can we talk of order overall?
when the very placement of the stars
leaves us doubting just what shines for whom?

Not to speak of the fog’s reprehensible drifting!
And dust blowing all over the steppes
as if they hadn’t been partitioned!
And the voices coasting on obliging airwaves,
that conspiratorial squeaking, those indecipherable mutters!

Only what is human can truly be foreign.
The rest is mixed vegetation, subversive moles, and wind.

Translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

The poem expresses correctly that non-human animals, plants, rocks etc. do not care about human-made borders. Nevertheless, these borders, both in Donald Trump’s USA and in the European Union, often affect wildlife negatively.

1 thought on “Trump’s border wall and Wisława Szymborska poem

  1. Pingback: Roadrunner at Trump’s border wall photo nominated | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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