I believe in the great discovery.
I believe in the man who will make the discovery.
I believe in the fear of the man who will make the
I believe in his face going white,
his queasiness, his upper lip drenched in cold sweat.
I believe in the burning of his notes,
burning them into ashes,
burning them to the last scrap.
I believe in the scattering of numbers,
scattering them without regret.
I believe in the man’s haste,
in the precision of his movements,
in his free will.
I believe in the shattering of tablets,
the pouring out of liquids,
the extinguishing of rays.
I am convinced this will end well,
that it will not be too late,
that it will take place without witnesses.
I’m sure no one will find out what happened,
not the wife, not the wall,
not even the bird that might squeal in its song.
I believe in the refusal to take part.
I believe in the ruined career.
I believe in the wasted years of work.
I believe in the secret taken to the grave.
These words soar for me beyond all rules
without seeking support from actual examples.
My faith is strong, blind, and without foundation.
by Wistlawa Szymborska
from View With a Grain of Sand
Harcourt Brace 1993
translation: Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh