Five Meaningful Wisława Szymborska Quotes

· January 28, 2019
Something rather interesting about Wisława Szymborska's quotes is the sharpness with which she communicates her way of thinking and seeing the world. She's, without a doubt, one of the best voices of contemporary poetry.

Wisława Szymborska often wrote about things that should always be in our thoughts but we tend to forget. The Polish poetess was gifted with a truly impressive sensitivity that allowed her to see and describe the ordinary world in a very particular way.

Wisława Szymborska’s quotes are simple and authentic. In them, she pours her poetic soul and bonds with the reader at the same time.

The wonderful poetess didn’t graduate from college. Since she was born into a poor family, she always had financial troubles. But that didn’t stop her from becoming one of the best poetesses.

“Nothing’s a gift, everything is borrowed. I’m drowning in debts up to my ears. I will be forced to pay for myself with myself, to give my life for my life.”

-Wisława Szymborska-

1. It’s a cruel world

How many times have we heard that phrase? You’ve probably even said it a few times. It’s one of those cliché phrases that spread around and became the explanation for the negative things that happen.

One of Wisława Szymborska’s quotes talks about this:

“The world is cruel but it also deserves other more compassionate qualifiers.”

What’s wonderful about this quote is that she hints at the contradiction between the phrase and its hidden cruelty.

People holding globes in hands.

2. Time

One of Wisława Szymborska’s quotes reads:

“Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.”

In it, she states that time has no beginning nor ending. When you begin something, you’re just continuing to live a reality that already exists. Every single thing that is born already has a past. Therefore, nothing ends either. Each event and fact is part of a timeline that precedes it and succeeds it.

3. The future belongs to the past

This is another one of her reflections about time:

“When I pronounce the word Future, the first syllable already belongs to the past.”

She reminds us with this quote that each moment is unique and unrepeatable. Time goes by and nothing is the same as before. Time doesn’t come back and what was will never be again.

4. True love

Wisława Szymborska dedicated this quote to those who say true love doesn’t exist:

“Let the people who never find true love keep saying that there’s no such thing. Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.”

She questions those who don’t believe in love. Since they believe that love doesn’t exist anywhere, then it isn’t and never will be their responsibility to make it happen. 

Heart of lights.

5. Poetry and more poetry

Wisława Szymborska made poetry a lifestyle. She wasn’t a distant writer. On the contrary, she always communicated with her readers and listened to their questions and thoughts. She understood that being a poet is so much more than just coming up with rhymes.

“I prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems.”

In 1996, many people celebrated when she received the Nobel Prize in Literature. And many more cried when she passed away in 2012 because the world lost a very talented and profound poetess.

  • Szymborska, W., Poniatowska, E., & Beltrán, G. (2008). Poesía no completa (No. 821.162. 1). Fondo de Cultura Económica.