Travelling the world I’ve gathered
Splendid books to grace my shelf,
And it seems to me our planet
Is a manuscript itself.

There are chapters wrongly headed,
Others infamy contain.
Would the faults could be amended
And fair copies penned again!

* * *

Morning and evening, noonday and night,
Fisher of darkness, fisher of light.
The world is an ocean: I fancy that we
Swim slowly like fish in the depths of the sea.

An ocean the world is: the fishermen wait,
Spreading a net and preparing the bait.
How—and how soon—shall Time bear me away?
In the net of the night? On the hook of the day?

* * *

Cat, whither rushing up hill and down dale?
«Away from the dog that is chasing my tail!»
Dog, what is driving you, I’d like to know?
«The pounding of hooves and a loud tally-ho!»

Horse, why so fast, at so cruel a pace?
«The rider is lashing me. Look at his face!»
Man, must you gallop with never a pause?
«Time rushes after me, baring its claws!»

* * *

To be alone is all I ask.
I wish to quit the weary road
And, like a cloak, upon the grass
My thoughts and precious dreams unfold.

Come, people, carry me along
With you! I did not realise
How wretched I would be alone
With all the dreams and thoughts I prize.

* * *

Our ancestors, not pressed for time,
On daggers and with daggers wrote
What I today in feeble rhyme
Endeavour with my pen to note.

«Farewell!»—their horses’ hooves would thud.
The riders never paused to think
But fought and wrote on stone with blood
What I attempt to write in ink.

* * *

With tender thoughts at dawn I rise
To write a poem for my love,
But she, asleep, ignores my sighs
And breathes as gently as a dove.

I do not sleep all night: I write
In rage against my enemy.
But he makes merry, having quite
Forgotten he offended me.