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“Return Baggage”

Author Ewa Wampuszyc
Air Date 1/5/2005

“Return Baggage” Transcript

As we begin the year ahead with its new promise, let us take a moment to reflect on the children whose lives have passed so fleetingly — the victims of war, of hunger, of illness, of random tragedy.

I can think of no words more fitting or more moving than those of the Polish Nobel Laureate, Wislawa Szymborska, in her poem, “Return Baggage.”

Sound Clip: Reading of Poem

For those of us who do not read Greek, the last phrase of the poem translates as “in the Grand Universe, Time is a Paradox.”

Our thanks today to Ewa Wampuszyc of the University of Florida’s Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and the Center for European Studies. Ms. Szymborska’s poem first appeared in the January 12, 2004, issue of The New Yorker Magazine. “Return Baggage” will be published in a forthcoming collection of Szymborska’s poems, titled Moment, by Harcourt Brace. We wish to thank Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanaugh for their permission to read their translation of this poem.

Posted in Poetry