Monday, February 4, 2013

Make it Possible

Today's poem by Wisława Szymborska just begs for a response. After you read it, pick out the lines that resonate with you. Then using the start "I prefer" take 5 or 10 minutes and write your own version. You may find a new possibility. And that's what makes a Monday an even better Monday.


I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.


  1. Yipes, Regina! This is an interesting one. I think the whole concept of "I prefer" conjures something bitter to me. Defining oneself by what one finds "better than." I think the line that grabbed me most was, "I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind." No! Over-trustful is without guile, without cunning, with only true intention! I think I prefer to try not to prefer :)

  2. It's interesting that you found a negative connotation in this poem. I found it some what liberating and exciting. It gives me a definition of myself in a moment which I find empowering. I think it's a good exercise to repeat at different parts of your life. To watch your preferences change. It's also a great way to work out a decision a more fanciful pros and cons list.

    You have to also consider that this is translation. so it makes me wonder how does prefer translate into English.

    My favorite line is "I prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems."

    I prefer to prefer.

  3. This is the line that spoke to me the loudest:

    I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
    that can be celebrated every day.

    For are joy and love not special every day?
    Each day is a milestone,
    And I refuse to limit celebration
    to the dictates of a calendar.
    Please, don't give me flowers on my birthday,
    No jewelry to mark the day we wed.
    Give me a gift from the heart
    On any day, any day at all
    And do it
    Just because.

    1. Love this, Susan! and I totally agree that every day should be celebrated. In my house that's how we try to live each moment. Thanks for sharing!