Miracle Fair

by Wislawa Szymborska

English version by Joanna Trzeciak
Original Language Polish

Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.

An ordinary miracle:
in the dead of night
the barking of invisible dogs.

One miracle out of many:
a small, airy cloud
yet it can block a large and heavy moon.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it's backwards left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches the bottom,
even though the water is shallow.

An everyday miracle:
winds weak to moderate
turning gusty in storms.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.

Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.

A miracle without a cape and top hat:
scattering white doves.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.

A miracle, less surprising than it should be:
even though the hand has fewer than six fingers,
it still has more than four.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.

An additional miracle, as everything is additional:
the unthinkable
is thinkable.

-- from Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska, by Wislawa Szymborska / Translated by Joanna Trzeciak

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

There are so many things I like about this poem!

Commonplace miracle:
that so many commonplace miracles happen.


That realization, when it stops being simply a nice idea and truly takes hold of the awareness, when that happens, the world finally comes alive to us. Or perhaps we come alive to it.

A miracle, for what else could you call it:
today the sun rose at three-fourteen
and will set at eight-o-one.


Miracles do not have to be relegated to the supernatural and the superhuman. We don't need to have lived in remote times or exotic places to experience miracles. We don't need to have spent weary decades in extreme spiritual practices to experience miracles. We don't need a different life or a different world.

Second to none:
just this orchard
from just that seed.


We just need to look around. We just need to see.

First among equal miracles:
cows are cows.


What is a miracle, really? It isn't so much an event or an experience as a moment. It is a moment of recognition, when our awareness catches a glimpse of the wider reality, when what we witness washes us away.

The world is pregnant with miracles. All it takes is for us to approach with quiet awareness and awe, and the most mundane things open themselves into infinities.

Several miracles in one:
an alder tree reflected in the water,
and that it's backwards left to right
and that it grows there, crown down
and never reaches the bottom,
even though the water is shallow.


But to really look, with a steady gaze and still mind -- so hard to do. The reflex is to squirm, to turn away, to let the mind grasp at a thousand things. That's the hard work right there: learning to relax out of that reflex and not lurch away from really seeing. Only then do we glimpse the miracle spread out beneath our feet.

A miracle, just take a look around:
the world is everywhere.


Allow yourself to enjoy a moment with the unthinkable today!



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Miracle Fair