I feel there is a sort of stigma against poems that rhyme. People seem to think they are appropriate for young children who are first learning about poetry. They’re fine for limmericks and jump-rope songs and Shel Silverstein, but not for serious, grown-up poetry. Well, as you’ve probably deduced by now, I beg to differ.
Granted, rhyming poetry is not something I consciously seek out, but then I came across the following poem by Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska (please wait with bated breathe for an upcoming post devoted to her).
I’d already found several poems of hers I’d loved, but this poem gave me respect for its translators. Can you imagine not just accurately translating a poem into another language (each language having its own idioms and nuances, both crucial in poetry), but ensuring that the poem rhymes – in both languages? It’s no wonder the translators, Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak, received the 1996 PEN translation prize for their work on Szymborska’s View with a Grain of Sand.