thus not all. Not even the majority of all but the minority.
Not counting schools, where one has to,
and the poets themselves,
there might be two people per thousand.
but one also likes chicken soup with noodles,
one likes compliments and the color blue,
one likes an old scarf,
one likes having the upper hand,
one likes stroking a dog.
but what is poetry.
Many shaky answers
have been given to this question.
But I don't know and don't know and hold on to it
like to a sustaining railing.
First of all, I have to say that I did not expect Szymborska to write about such a topic in such a way. And it's always pleasant to discover that one has been surprised.
Now, let's analyze this poem by parts.
The first stanza talks about the elitist qualities of poetry. I, who sit during many classes a year listening to teachers ramble on about Blake or Dickinson, and enjoy every second of it, am also saddened by the fact that the vast majority do not care about what is happening in the poem. They care about the grade, about the teacher's approval, but not about the beauty of the words that are presented to them. Szymborska talks about this, and you can feel the sadness in her tone. (I want to add, though, that most of the time poetry lovers are poetry writers so I don't think that even two in a thousand like poetry -without writing it, that is.)
The second stanza is a bit harder to comprehend. One must always be concious that the effect the poem is trying to achieve is that of people scarcely ever enjoying poetry. What I think that the second stanza is refferring to is that one can like poetry in such a simplistic and everyday way as one likes chicken soup with noodles, the color blue, an old scarf, etc.. That once you get to know how to enjoy poetry, poetry becomes a part of your life.
Finally, the third stanza: I agree, I've heard many times definitions for poetry and many times the definition doesn't quite seem to suit it. And that's because there is no real definite answer. For everybody, it is a different reason. For some it can be the beauty or the melody or the intonnation. For example, my reason for loving poetry is the feeling it can transmit, whether the passionate love, nostalgia, happyness, tranquility, or melancholia. And the thing is, that this definition is ever-changing. It changes to the rythm that we change, it changes to the rythm that our perspectives change. But if one likes, or loves, poetry, as stanza two points out, then no matter what the reason you enjoy poetry is, it will always remain with you.
Thank you for reading,
P.S. I don't believe in analyzing the rythm or rhyme of translated poems, and since I don't know how to speak and read Polish, and you probably don't either, we'll ignore that part, okay? Even though in native languages, one of my favorite parts is analyzing the rythm.