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Thursday, 9 February 2012

At First Sight

im Wislawa Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012)

You have seen someone like me, once

And I have met you too, perhaps

At the curve of an iron stairway

A junction with lights, some pause

On a railway platform, a meeting of eyes

The passing, steamed up window of a bus

We are all of us only each other’s

Shadows, foretelling of future’s past

Walking in familiar footsteps

On the city’s Google maps, watched

By the same dark satellite, I wonder

How we missed each other for so long

The years will pass, the only thing

That’s definite is time, shaping our passage

We move between the lanes

Like careful liners, watchful for the rocks

The threat of secret icebergs, we are trained

To call for help but do not like to shout

Don’t make a fuss, the days are growing longer

Spring will soon pull hope out of the earth

Do not regret the dark shroud of winter

You will forget again what was forgotten once

I will remember only the silhouette of one

Once glimpsed, the one who smiles like you did

©  Helena Nolan

Wisława Szymborska obituary
Helena's work has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines including; The Stinging Fly, The Moth, and the Spoken Ink audio website. She is the 2011 winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award.


  1. What a great tribute to a great poet! Thank you.

  2. Beautiful, Helena - this one will stay with me...

  3. A very moving poem. Mine is less so but here it is

  4. What a lovely tribute and I love her smile still. she had such a peaceful countenance.

    I'm always intrigued when a poet can write a poem in tribute to another poet and write it in their style. It shows such a great understanding of them. Very nice.

  5. What a beautifully crafted poem and tribute. Well done, thank you for sharing.

  6. Such a beautifully written tribute. Helena writes such beautiful imagery into her poetry:)

  7. A gentle, evocative poem that will follow me around for days; and a fitting tribute to a great poet from a poetic inheritor.