Poem of the Month

Four in the Morning | Wisława Szymborska

world of books poem of the month four in the morning

The hour from night to day.
The hour from side to side.
The hour for those past thirty.

The hour swept clean to the crowing of cocks.
The hour when earth betrays us.
The hour when wind blows from extinguished stars.
The hour of and-what-if-nothing-remains-after-us.
The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.
No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning
–three cheers for the ants. And let five o’clock come
if we’re to go on living.

– WisŁawa Szymborska, Published in Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts: Seventy Poems by Wislawa Szymborska, 1981
poem of the month four in the morning Szymborska

Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts

Winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature, Polish-born Wisława Szymborska was a poet, essayist, and translator. Collections of her poetry have been translated into many languages around the world.
Szymborska’s writing spans over six decades, and yet remains relatable to people of all ages from all backgrounds.

‘Four in the Morning’ is a wonderfully frank poem that’s full of wit. Like most of her work, it expresses specifically human experiences which hint at worldly issues bubbling beneath the surface. Szymborska’s poetry is highly accessible and easy to read. The way she writes uses cunningly simple language weaved in with multiple layers of meaning. This evocative depth is what has made her work significant for generations.

Discover more pondering and explorative poetry of Wisława Szymborska, and explore our wider selection of second-hand poetry books to find your new or old favourites.

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Can you relate to Szymborska’s musings on four in the morning? Let us know what you think of our Poem of the Month in the comments below.

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