Who Is a Poet ... by Rozewicz

a poet is one who writes verses
and one who does not write verses

a poet is one who throws off fetters
and one who puts fetters on himself

a poet is one who believes
and one who cannot bring himself to believe

a poet is one who has told lies
and one who has been told lies

one who has been inclined to fall
and one who raises himself

a poet is one who tries to leave
and one who cannot leave

- Tadeusz Rozewicz (1921-)

translated by Magnus Jan Krynski and Robert A. Maguire

Poem with a Tail ... by Kanik

We can't be seen together. Our paths are separate.
You belong to the butcher, I am an alley cat.
You eat from a nickeled plate.
I eat from the lion's mouth.
You dream of love. I dream of bones.

But your path isn't easy either, pal,
Not easy
To wag a tail every godforsaken day.

- Orhan Veli Kanik (1914-1950)

translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat

Nothing More ... by Neruda

I made my contract with the truth
to restore light to the earth.

I wished to be like bread.
The struggle never found me wanting.

But here I am with what I loved,
with the solitude I lost.
In the shadow of the stone, I do not rest.

The sea is working, working in my silence.

- Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

translated by Alastair Reid

The Human Species ... by Queneau

The human species has given me
the right to be mortal
the duty to be civilized
a conscience
2 eyes that don't always function very well
a nose in the middle of my face
2 feet 2 hands

the human species has given me
my father and mother
some brothers maybe who knows
a whole mess of cousins
and some great-grandfathers

the human species has given me
its 3 faculties
feeling intellect and will
each in moderation
32 teeth and 10 fingers a liver
a heart and some other viscera

the human species has given me
what I'm supposed to be satisfied with

- Raymond Queneau (1903-1976)

Translated by Michael Benedikt