A Word On Statistics

A poem by Wislawa Szymborska

Out of every hundred people
Those who always know better: fifty-two.
Unsure of every step: nearly all the rest.
Ready to help, as long as it doesn’t take long: forty-nine.
Always good, because they cannot be otherwise: four­–well, maybe five.
Able to admire without envy: eighteen.
Led to error by youth (which passes) sixty, plus or minus.
Those not to be messed with: forty and four.
Living in constant fear of someone or something: seventy-seven.
Capable of happiness: twenty-some-odd at most.
Harmless alone, turning savage in crowds: more than half, for sure.
Cruel when forced by circumstances: it’s better not to know not even approximately.
Wise in hindsight: not many more than wise in foresight.
Getting nothing out of life but things: thirty (although I would like to be wrong).
Doubled over in pain, without a flashlight in the dark: eighty-three, sooner or later.
Those who are just: quite a few at thirty-five.
But if it takes effort to understand: three.
Worthy of empathy: ninety-nine.

Mortal: one hundred out of one hundred – a figure that has never varied yet.