The End and the Beginning

After every war
 someone has to clean up.
 Things won’t
 straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
 to the side of the road,
 so the corpse-filled wagons
 can pass.
Someone has to get mired
 in scum and ashes,
 sofa springs,
 splintered glass,
 and bloody rags.
Someone has to drag in a girder
 to prop up a wall.
 Someone has to glaze a window,
 rehang a door.
Photogenic it’s not,
 and takes years.
 All the cameras have left
 for another war.
We’ll need the bridges back,
 and new railway stations.
 Sleeves will go ragged
 from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
 still recalls the way it was.
 Someone else listens
 and nods with unsevered head.
 But already there are those nearby
 starting to mill about
 who will find it dull.
From out of the bushes
 sometimes someone still unearths
 rusted-out arguments
 and carries them to the garbage pile.
Those who knew
 what was going on here
 must make way for
 those who know little.
 And less than little.
 And finally as little as nothing.
In the grass that has overgrown
 causes and effects,
 someone must be stretched out
 blade of grass in his mouth
 gazing at the clouds. 
Wislawa Szymborska

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2 Responses to The End and the Beginning

  1. Ian Moone says:

    quite a chilling poem when considering the subject matter

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