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Anna Swir

Anna Swir (Anna Świrszczyńska)was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1909. She was the author of Talking to My Body (Copper Canyon Press, 1996) and Happy as a Dog’s Tail (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985), both translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan. She died in Krakow, Poland, in 1984.

By This Poet


Poetry Reading

I’m curled into a ball
like a dog
that is cold.

Who will tell me
why I was born,
why this monstrosity
called life.

The telephone rings. I have to give
a poetry reading.

I enter.
A hundred people, a hundred pairs of eyes.
They look, they wait.
I know for what.

I am supposed to tell them
why they were born,
why there is
this monstrosity called life.