Monday, February 21, 2005

the romantic in me

Love at First Sight
a poem by Wislawa Szymborska (originally in Polish)
-translated by Walter Whipple

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful.

Because they didn't know each other earlier, they suppose that
nothing was happening between them.
What of the streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I'd like to ask them
whether they remember-- perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
an "excuse me" in a crowd
or a voice "wrong number" in the receiver.
But I know their answer:
no, they don't remember.

They'd be greatly astonished
to learn that for a long time
chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side.

There were signs, signals:
but what of it if they were illegible.
Perhaps three years ago,
or last Tuesday
did a certain leaflet fly
from shoulder to shoulder?
There was something lost and picked up.
Who knows but what it was a ball
in the bushes of childhood.

There were doorknobs and bells
on which earlier
touch piled on touch.
Bags beside each other in the luggage room.
Perhaps they had the same dream on a certain night,
suddenly erased after waking.

Every beginning
is but a continuation,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.

- - - - -

i think this is the version that appears in the movie turn left, turn right which i saw recently. without knowing much about the movie to begin with, i must say that it first appealed, then took a firm grip on the romantic in me. and despite some cliches, corniness, and suspension of reality along the way (which is not to say that the movie was without its share of nice touches - the opening umbrella scene is a beautiful image, as is a similar picture at the end), didn't let go for the whole movie... (i wonder if it hasn't got a hook or two left in me still!)

what can i say? but to sigh wistfully and gaze off into the distance?

part of the vcd cover promo says that "你盼望著的那個人, 原來一直活在你的左右". although it's not quite the same scenario as the movie (ok ok it's really nowhere near the same scenario - the only real similarities are that there is a guy, there is a girl, and there is a hint or maybe a hope of two parallel lines touching...), i think 这个真理我好像已经了解了,现在只等机会和她见个面,聊了天,提出我们两人之间的未来...

if only it were that easy!

- - - - -
there are a lot of connotations and perhaps implied understandings when words and phrases like "fate", "destiny", and "love at first sight" are bandied about. let me just say that i don't necessarily subscribe to the contemporary/popular understandings of these words in full, though i haven't (yet) completely discarded them from my vocabulary. clarifications available upon application ;)

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