We Engrave Our Portraits
On a prodigious wall of cells
We engrave our portraits
And then we pass away.
Sometimes there further remains on the wall
Whatever we were holding in our hands while still alive :
An amphora, a woman, a knife…
Our descendants walk behind,
In throngs as if in a museum,
They inquisitively stare at us,
Learn from our history
Only to go wrong in their own life history
Right by our side.
The sea is an immense compass,
Crammed with fidgety fish,
Invariably pointing North.
Naturally each fish abides
By its own North,
Which it seeks to foist,
Swallowing the feebler Norths
Whenever Neptune turns his gaze elsewhere.
There’s a rumour that the times of the unique
North, scientifically calculated, are nearing,
When all the fish will swim
Aligning themselves in the same direction,
One behind the other,
Dutifully heading northwards, on their bellies,
Ultimately southwards, on their backs.
Henceforth no more ships
Will drift off their course,
Nor will they be swallowed by whirlpools,
Accordingly, by handling
Such a foolproof compass
The whole world will much more precisely
ascertain its everyday bearings.
On This Sphere-Shaped Earth
After having ascertained
That the Earth is sphere-shaped,
The geographers reached the conclusion
That life itself must be round as well.
If you set out from a specific happiness
And keep straight towards elderliness,
You are likely show up, at some point in time,
As an adolescent,
Looming from sunrises and optimism.
From all these throngs of people who’d set out
To discover this grain of truth,
Furnished with wheat, weapons, and all things needful
In their iron ships,
No one has returned as yet.
Oh, don’t ever lose heart, my fellow people !
Have faith in the map of your hopes.
Since, by all means, on this sphere-shaped Earth,
Everything ought to be perfect.
English version by Gabriela PACHIA