Wednesday, October 17, 2012

107 ~on statistics

A WORD ON STATISTICS



Out of every hundred people,

Those who always know better:
Fifty-two.

Unsure of every step:
Almost all the rest.

Ready to help,
If it doesn’t take long:
Forty-nine.

Always good,
Because they cannot be otherwise:
Four—well, maybe five.

Able to admire without envy:
Eighteen.

Led to error
By youth (which passes):
Sixty, plus or minus.

Those not to be messed with:
Four-and-forty.

Living in constant fear
Of someone or something:
Seventy-seven.

Capable of happiness:
Twenty-some-odd at most.

Harmless alone
Turning savage in crowds:
More than half, for sure.

Cruel
When forced by circumstances:
It’s better not to know,
Not even approximately.

Wise in hindsight:
Not many more
Than wise in foresight.

Getting nothing out of life except things:
Thirty
(though I would like to be wrong).

Balled up in pain
And without a flashlight in the dark:
Eighty-three, sooner or later.

Those who are just:
Quite a few, thirty-five.
But if it takes effort to understand:
Three.

Worthy of empathy:
Ninety-nine.

Mortal:
One hundred out of one hundred—
A figure that has never varied yet.



A Word On Statistics, by Wislawa Szymborska. 

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak.


 *****


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