Even when you take to the woods,

We are children of our age,
it’s a political age.

All day long, all through the night
all affairs–yours, ours, theirs–
are political affairs.

Whether you like it or not,
your genes have political past,
your skin–a political cast,
your eyes–a political slant.

Whatever you say reverberates,
whatever you don’t say speak for itself–
so either way you’re talking politics.

Even when you take to the woods,
you’re taking political steps
on political grounds.

Apolitical poems are also political,
and above us shines the moon
no longer purely lunar.
To be or not to be, that is the question.
And though it troubles the digestion,
it’s a question, as always, of politics.

To acquire a political meaning
you don’t even have to be human.
Raw material will do,
or protein or crude oil,
or a conference table, whose shape
was quarrelled over for months:
should we arbitrate life and death
at a round table or a square one.

Meanwhile people perished,
animals died,
houses burned,
and the fields ran wild
just as in times immemorial
and less political.

Children of Our Age
Wislawa Szymborska saying it is not all so political but I don’t feel as sure.


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