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Nic dwa razy – Nothing twice Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Culture, Education, Famous people, Grammar, Poetry, Polish Language, Rhymes

In blog from February 2nd, Nobel Prize-winning Wisława Szymborska dies at 88 I wrote about the great Polish poet. There is one poem I remember I had to learn by heart, when I was in school.I remember it to this days. It is really beautiful and I had to share it with you…

Here are both Polish and English versions. Hope you enjoy it:)

Nic dwa razy

Nic dwa razy się nie zdarza

i nie zdarzy. Z tej przyczyny zrodziliśmy się bez wprawy

i pomrzemy bez rutyny.

Choćbyśmy uczniami byli najtępszymi w szkole świata

nie będziemy repetować

żadnej zimy ani lata.

Żaden dzień się nie powtórzy, nie ma dwóch podobnych nocy, dwóch tych samych pocałunków,

dwóch jednakich spojrzeń w oczy.

Wczoraj, kiedy twoje imię

ktoś wymówił przy mnie głośno, tak mi było, jakby róża

przez otwarte wpadła okno.

Dziś, kiedy jesteśmy razem, odwróciłam twarz ku ścianie.

Róża? Jak wygląda róża?

Czy to kwiat? A może kamień?

Czemu ty się, zła godzino,

z niepotrzebnym mieszasz lękiem?

Jesteś – a więc musisz minąć.

Miniesz – a więc to jest piękne.

Uśmiechnięci, wpółobjęci spróbujemy szukać zgody,

choć różnimy się od siebie

jak dwie krople czystej wody.

Nothing twice

Nothing can ever happen twice.

In consequence, the sorry fact is

that we arrive here improvised

and leave without the chance to practice.

 Even if there is no one dumber,

if you’re the planet’s biggest dunce,

you can’t repeat the class in summer:

this course is only offered once.

 No day copies yesterday,

no two nights will teach what bliss is

in precisely the same way,

with precisely the same kisses.

 One day, perhaps some idle tongue

mentions your name by accident:

I feel as if a rose were flung

into the room, all hue and scent.

 The next day, though you’re here with me,

I can’t help looking at the clock:

 A rose? What could that be?

Is it a flower or a rock?

 Why do we treat the fleeting day

with so much needless fear and sorrow?

It’s in its nature not to stay:

Today is always gone tomorrow.

 With smiles and kisses, we prefer

to seek accord beneath our star,

although we’re different (we concur)

just as two drops of water are.

If you like Szymborska’s poems, there is a great book with selected poems in English and Polish:

Nothing Twice: Selected Poems”

by Wisława Szymborska, Stanisław Barańczak (Translator), Clare Cavanagh (Translator)

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. Wojtek:

    Thank you for this discovery.

    Ja z Opola, tez mieszkam with NH.

  2. Jan Dembinski:

    Hi Kasia,

    I like your website–very helpful as I begin to learn Polish, albeit a bit late in life. It seems to me that the translation you provide is not very literal. Could you provide a literal one. I know this might be asking a lot, but if you don’t ask you don’t receive. Google translate mangles it.

    Very best,


  3. Jan Dembinski:

    Hi Kasia,

    Here is my more literal translation of Nic Dwa Razy Się:

    Nothing happens twice
    and nothing will. For this reason,
    we are born without skill
    and we die without ability.

    Even if we were the dumbest students
    in the world’s school,
    we will not repeat
    any winter or summer.

    No day will repeat,
    There are no same two nights,
    Two of these same kisses,
    Two such gazes in our eyes.

    Yesterday, when your name
    Was spoken aloud next to me,
    It was as if a rose
    fell through an open window.

    Today, when we are together,
    I turn my face to the wall.
    Rose? How does a rose look?
    Is it a flower? Or maybe a stone?

    Why do you, in a bad hour,
    Get mixed up in unnecessary anxiety?
    You are—and so you must pass through.
    You pass through—so it’s beautiful.

    Smiling, half-embracing
    We try to seek permission,
    Though we differ from each other
    as two clear drops of water.

    All the best, Jaś

  4. Barbara Abraham:

    dziendoberek z Szanghaju,
    Wlasnie lamalam sobie glowe z powodu niedzielnego zacmienia mozgu…Ten wiersz znam na pamiec w dwoch jezykach i cytowalam go w mojej pracy magisterskiej. (MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy, Midllesex University, London) ale nie moglalm sobie przypomniec nazwiska Pani Szymborskiej! Tak znalazlam sie na Twojej stronie. dziekuje! Barbara
    ps. jestesmy w Szanghaju na 3 miesiace, normalnie mieszkamy miedzy Krakowem i Oxfordem.
    Maz -Anglik -matematyk mowi kilka zadan po polsku.

  5. Suri Lanka:

    Jan Dembinski, Before showing off linguistic ability you have to deeply understand the meaning of the poem.( dosłowne tłumaczenie może ranić poetkę i siebie)
    Suri Lanka

  6. Sally Verhaeghe:

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