Myself and My Person

By Anna Swir 1909–1984 Anna Swir
There are moments
when I feel more clearly than ever
that I am in the company
of my own person.
This comforts and reassures me,
this heartens me,
just as my tridimensional body
is heartened by my own authentic shadow.

There are moments
when I really feel more clearly than ever   
that I am in the company
of my own person.

I stop
at a street corner to turn left
and I wonder what would happen
if my own person walked to the right.

Until now that has not happened   
but it does not settle the question.

Anna Swir, “Myself and My Person” from Talking to My Body, translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan. Copyright © 1996 by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Talking to My Body (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996)

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Poet Anna Swir 1909–1984

POET’S REGION Poland

Subjects Nature, The Body

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Anna Swir (Świrszczyńska) was born in Warsaw, Poland, to an artistic though impoverished family. She worked from an early age, supporting herself while she attended university to study medieval Polish literature. In the 1930s she worked for a teachers’ association, served as an editor, and began publishing poetry. Swir joined the Resistance during World War II and worked as a military nurse during the Warsaw Uprising; at one . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, The Body

POET’S REGION Poland

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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