Today is always gone tomorrow.
Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012) was a Polish poet whose work was widely translated into English. In 1996, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. "She was the kindest, funniest, most unassuming person I ever met. She may also have been the smartest, although saying that to her face would have killed the conversation instantly," writes a friend and poet, Clare Cavanagh in remembering her. (Click here.)
She is, to my mind, a process poet, although her poetry can never be reduced to a philosophy or an ideology. Recall the twenty key ideas in process philosophy. The first is process itself: the idea that the universe is a creative advance into novelty, that nothing ever happens twice, and that time is a perpetual perishing of subjective immediacy. Her poem Nothing Twice presents this accurately, poetically, simply, and beautifully. "Today is always gone tomorrow."
More importantly, she renders the idea of process in personal terms: that is, in terms that make sense to ordinary people like you, like me, who are like two drops of water beneath the stars. We can never happen twice, either, and we best make our peace with the fact that, even as we make mistakes, we can't repeat the class next summer. What to do? We smile and kiss, forgive ourselves and others, and move forward into the tomorrows which, in time, will become yesterdays. We love our neighbors as ourselves, and love ourselves, too. Nothing happens twice.
- Jay McDaniel, 3/2/2023