Saturday, September 25, 2004

A Contribution to Statistics

A Contribution to Statistics
- by Wislawa Szymborska

[Note: can you pick the stanza most relevant to what Jesus called us to be? Hint: think three.]

Out of a hundred people
those who always know better
-- fifty-two,

doubting every step
--nearly all the rest,

glad to lend a hand
if it doesn't take too long
-- as high as forty-nine,

always good
because they can't be otherwise
--four, well, maybe five,

able to admire without envy
-- eighteen,

suffering illusions
induced by fleeting youth
--sixty, give or take a few,

not to be taken lightly
--forty and four,

living in constant fear
of someone or something
-- seventy-seven,

capable of happiness
--twenty-something tops,

harmless singly,
savage in crowds
--half at least,

cruel
when forced by circumstances
-- better not to know even ballpark figures,

wise after the fact
-- just a couple more
than wise before it,

taking only things from life
--thirty
(I wish I were wrong),

hunched in pain,
no flashlight in the dark
-- eighty-three
sooner or later,

righteous
--thirty-five, which is a lot,

righteous
and understanding
-- three,

worthy of compassion
-- ninety-nine,

mortal
-- a hundred out of a hundred.
Thus far this figure still remains unchanged

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