Possibilities (a photo and two poems)

a photo
Today’s photograph is from Auschwitz II which is also known as Birkenau. DP and I visited the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, near Krakow, on the last day of 2008.

You can see other Friday photos here.

two poems
Strange and lovely things have happened to us as we’ve traveled across Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Poland. Central Europe is not like any other place we’ve visited.

In Vienna, we unknowingly sat at a table next to Wislawa Szymborska who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. Our tuxedo-wearing waiter told us who she was after she and her companion had left the cafe. I’d never heard of her so I googled her when we got back to the hotel; she was born in Poland in 1923 and she knew and was influenced by Czesław Miłosz. I’ve been reading her poetry and am especially fond of this one.

In celebration of a brand new year of possibilities, I offer this little almost-poem.

Possibilities (2)
Inspired by Wislawa Szymborska

I prefer coffee with lots of milk and sugar
I prefer cats
I prefer the decadence of pale pink roses
I prefer that people do their jobs as well as they can
I prefer the oldest part of town
I prefer, in people (and in nations), kindness over intelligence and intelligence over beauty
I prefer traveling on trains
I prefer colourful scarves from Italian markets
I prefer cities
I prefer love as an action
I prefer chocolate and pears
I prefer happy endings
I prefer that people employ their nicest manners regardless of whom they encounter, where they are from or how they are dressed
I prefer the golden light of Florence and Krakow
I prefer silence at the movies
I prefer calling first before dropping by
I prefer palaces
I prefer to hear the (sometimes difficult) truth
I prefer bed by eleven
I prefer to see the pretty countryside from inside a car
I prefer images of the Madonna
I prefer to understand why this, why here, why now
I prefer swelling music with strings
I prefer slippers and polar fleece
I prefer polaroids and towering piles of books
I prefer asking questions
I prefer to travel

Tell me about what you prefer…


  1. Beautiful picture and even more beautiful poem. We have been traveling around the same area this month…Central/Eastern Europe is amazing.What do I prefer? Right now it is to enjoy the rest of my trip and not think about going home!

  2. I prefer coffee, as early as I can get itI prefer warmthI prefer analysisI prefer lightI prefer intelligence when it's beautiful and beauty when it's smartI prefer design when it functionsI prefer dreaming of where we are goingI prefer braveryI prefer fondue with familyI prefer genuineI prefer public art when it's a gift from the artist and not about the artistI prefer the unpredictableI prefer to stay long enough in a strange land to feel homesick when I leaveWow. That was so much fun. Your post this morning is a gift. Thank you.

  3. @JenThanks for your kind words about the post and poem.I hope your trip to Eastern Europe was amazing and that home, when you got there, was wonderful in its own way!@JackieHow fantastic! Your lovely response was also a gift to me! I loved your preferences for warmth, genuine and predictable!@MaraHa! Your comments always make me smile. I prefer your comments.@HeatherThis path behind Auschwitz was bleak but also strangely beautiful.@DominiqueSometimes it is easier to write beautiful posts when you are on the road and there's no routine and no pressure. I loved writing this one from our adorable apartment in Warsaw.@WendyHappy New Year to you! I am not at all surprised to hear that we share some of the same loves and preferences.

  4. I prefer Dostoevsky in the library,I prefer February morning sun.I prefer notebooks of all colors and sizes,I prefer my hair pulled back in a bun.I prefer hot coffee at breakfast,I prefer milk and brown sugar with my tea,I prefer brownies on very special occasions,I prefer warm voices in my poetry.I prefer the smell of the Mediterranean and the Cantabrico,I prefer greetings in a well-known tongue,I prefer roses and piles of books in April,I prefer the sotires I heard when I was young.I prefer Formula 1 on Sunday afternoons,I prefer calçots with the coming of spring,I prefer dreams and visions of the future,I prefer the peaceful thoughts that long talks in the kitchen bring.I prefer lunches at 3 p.m.,I prefer a speedy tortilla francesa at 9,I prefer my 6-euro brown coffee mug,I prefer listening to worries rather than complaining about mine.I prefer a familiar-smelling airport,I prefer tingling in my toes,I prefer photographs, videos, photographs,I prefer the soft sound time makes as it flows.: ) Is Spain still as incandescent as I left it?

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