Leaving the Movie Theater

Source: Wisława Szymborska (trans. Clare Cavanagh), ‘Leaving the Movie Theater’ in Map: Collected and Last Poems (Boston/New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), p. 4

Dreams flickered on white canvas.
The moon’s husk glimmered for two hours.
There was the melancholy song of love,
a happy journey’s end and flowers.

After the fairy tale, the world is hazy, blue.
The roles and faces here are unrehearsed.
The soldier sings the partisan’s laments.
The young girl plays her songs of mourning too.

I’m coming back to you, the real world,
crowded, dark, and full of fate –
you, one-armed boy beneath the gate,
you, empty eyes of a young girl.

Comments: Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012) was a Polish poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. ‘Leaving the Movie Theater’ is originally from an unpublished collection, 1944-1948. Her poem ‘Love at First Sight’ is believed to have been the inspiration for Krysztof Kieslowski’s film Three Colours: Red (1994).