Time to tan the knees.

Certain philosophical questions are probably hard to focus on when you are lying on the beach trying to get a suntan. I remember a Peace Corps ad on TV that showed a couple slathered with oil and doing nothing under the sun, seemingly oblivious to their radio propped in the sand and telling the news about people suffering in a third-world country.

If you are sitting up and looking out at the ocean, you might appear to be meditating, or praying, so maybe no one would try to make you feel guilty. It’s been three years since I was on a beach warm enough to expose much skin, and I wouldn’t feel bad at all about soaking up some summer in that manner.

Well, none of this applies directly to the poem I am sharing today. I just love this lighthearted look at how we humans are.

THE SOUL AND THE BODY ON THE BEACH

The soul on the beach
studies a textbook of philosophy.
The soul asks the body:
Who bound us together?
The body says:
Time to tan the knees.

The soul asks the body:
Is it true
that we do not really exist?

The body says:
I’m tanning my knees.

The soul asks the body,
Where will the dying begin,
in you or in me?
The body laughed,
It tanned its knees.

~ Anna Swir (1909-1984), Polish poet,

translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan

01467

3 thoughts on “Time to tan the knees.

  1. This poem made me laugh along with the body. However, there will be no tanning of my knees, as my skin does not like the sun. But there will be sun on my blue jeans covering my knees. πŸ˜‰

    Like

  2. I like that! That’s the kind of modern poetry that I find very appealing. It’s direct, clear, unique. When I read a really clever idea poem like that, I always think, ‘Darn! Why didn’t I think of that first!’ haha πŸ™‚ Personally, I think the soul begins its death first, in the womb. The human body, it seems to me, is living and growing and not-dying (generally) until late teens. Then it’s a slow downhill slide.

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s