Tuesday, February 20, 2007

339. Two Monkeys By Brueghel - Wislawa Szymborska

Wislawa Szymborska - Two Monkeys by Brueghel
(Translated by Magnus Kryski)

I keep dreaming of my graduation exam:
in a window sit two chained monkeys,
beyond the window floats the sky,
and the sea splashes.

I am taking an exam on the history of mankind:
I stammer and flounder.

One monkey, eyes fixed upon me, listens ironically,
the other seems to be dozing--
and when silence follows a question,
he prompts me
with a soft jingling of the chain.

Wislawa Szymborska - The Two Apes Of Brueghel
(Translated by Sharon Olds)

Here's my dream of final exam:
two apes, in chains, sitting at a window.
Outside the sky is flying
and the sea bathes.

I am taking the test on human history.
I stammer and blunder.

One ape, staring at me, listens with irony,
the other seems to doze ––
but when I am silent after a question,
she prompts me
with a soft clanking of the chain.

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