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Can you feel good about feeling bad?

How difficult is it to admit to the reason of feeling bad?

Is it possible to live a life when the choices are easy and the mind is clear?

I have a strong suspicion that your answers are also mine.

Aren’t our life experiences similar?  Don’t we experience joy and pain the same way?  How about love and hate?  How about disappointments, struggles, betrayals?

I have been reading Szymborska’s poems  in her collection “Nothing Twice” for the past week and I have been once more reminded of the complexity and simplicity of life.

I have been also reminded that good poetry undoubtedly removes me from my place of comfort and throws me right into the wild where I have to stop and learn my surroundings in order to survive.  And this is what happened when I read the poem below.

I will be curious to see your comments and learn what you think.


In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself

by Wislawa Szymborska


The buzzard never says it is to blame.

The panther wouldn’t know what scruples mean.

When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame. If snakes had hands, they’d claim their hands were clean.


A jackal doesn’t understand remorse.

Lions and lice don’t waver in their course.

Why should they, when they know they’re right?


Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,

in every other way they’re light.


On this third planet of the sun

among the signs of bestiality

a clear conscience is Number One.

5 Responses to “In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself”

  1. Only man has to deal with a conscience and its a burden but it also is a good thing. Others we share the planet with don’t have this burden but they also don’t have the joy we experince.
    Awesome.

  2. Danuta says:

    Yes! That’s exactly the point!
    Thank you for reminding us of the “other side.”
    It’s nice to remember the joy of awareness.

  3. mike heinmuller says:

    Hi Danuta,

    I am accessing your BLOG from within the college. This is a test message.

    Mike.

  4. Khaled says:

    Danuta, I am not very sure if I understand the poem so I hope you will paraphrase it for me..

    • danutahinc says:

      1) human being is the only being on this planet that is aware of its actions — good or bad.

      2) animals do not judge their actions, they just live

      3) if we, human beings, do something wrong, something bad — we know it

      4) your conscience will kill you if you do wrong and bad things — you will feel guilty, you will feel bad about yourself.

      5) clear conscience is the biggest killer (of course it pertains to people without any mental disorders like sociopaths etc.)

      “On this third planet of the sun

      among the signs of bestiality

      a clear conscience is Number One.”