Wislawa Szymborska
Consciousness does not vanish
as dreams do.
No noise, no bell
scares her off,
nor does any shout or clatter
issue from her.

Hazy and ambiguous
are images in dreams,
which can be explained
in many various ways.
Consciousness denotes consciousness,
and that's the greater enigma.

There are keys to dreams.
Consciousness opens of her own accord
and does not let herself be shut.
From her
school report cards and stars issue,
and butterflies,
and the souls of old irons,
caps without heads
and pieces of clouds.
It becomes a riddle
without a solution.

Without us there would be no dreams.
He, without whom there would be no
consciousness is unknown,
while the product of his insomnia
is imparted to everyone
who awakes.
It is not the dreams that are crazy,
Consciousness is crazy,
not unlike the tenacity
with which it clings to
the course of events.

In our dreams our recently
deceased lives on,
and even enjoys good health and
recaptured youth.
Consciousness places before us
his dead body.
Consciousness does not yield as much as one step.

The airiness of dreams causes
their memory to be shaken off easily.
Consciousness need not fear being forgotten.
She is a difficult trick.
She sits on our shoulders,
weighs down on our heart,
and tumbles beneath our feet.

There's no escape from her
for she accompanies each flight.
And there's no station
along the course of our journey
where she is not waiting for us.

-translated by Walter Whipple