Wednesday, June 27, 2007

440. Circus Animals - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from the Polish by Walter Whipple

Bears are tapping their paws to the beat,
a lion jumps through a flaming hoop,
a monkey in a yellow tunic rides a bicycle,
the whip cracks and the music sounds,
the whip cracks and animals roll their eyes,
an elephant carries around a pitcher on his head,
dogs are dancing with carefully measured steps.

I'm very much ashamed, I – a human.

A horrible time was had that day:
boisterous applause was not lacking,
though an arm longer by the length of a whip
cast a sharp shadow on the sand.

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak

Bears are stomping in perfect time.
A lion jumps through flaming hoops.
A whip cracks and the music grinds.
A monkey rides a bike in a yellow suit.
A whip cracks and the animals turn their glance.
Dogs dance in carefully measured movement.
An elephant walks with a pitcher in perfect balance.

Myself, I'm quite embarrassed, I, a human.

People didn't enjoy themselves that day.
You wouldn't know it from the clapping hands
though one hand elongated by a whip
cast a striking shadow on the sand.

No comments: