Wisława Szymborska is a poet I met between the brown covers of a book that someone had crammed into a low shelf at a used bookstore. Love hit me pretty hard, pretty fast. For the sake of brevity, I might call out a single theme in her work that's left a mark on me—namely, her reflections on time. Her poems frequently manage to bring out the radical uncertainty and contingency of human life, the speckdom of ours in a dark universe where eternity provides bookends for the whole of human civilization, while still holding on to a tiny thread of hope. That tiny thread was its own paradoxically ineffable argument, a tassel from the hem of Job's rent garments; the possibility of redemption in Szymborska's perspective still seems more solid and trustworthy than glib certainties in anyone else's.
What else could a clumsy writer say to honor a brilliant interpreter of human experience? She's been a beautiful and gracious companion to me since our first encounter years ago, and I look forward to many years of companionship still to come. God bless you, Mrs Szymborska. The world is better for your having been in it.
Portrait of the Artist as a Compassionate Human Being