In Defence of Poets
What are we to do about the poets?
Life’s rough on them
they look so pitiful dressed in black
their skin blue from internal blizzards.
Poetry is a horrible disease,
the infected walk about complaining
their screams pollute the atmosphere like leaks
from atomic power stations of the mind. It's so psychotic
Poetry is a tyrant
it keeps people awake at night and destroys marriages
it draws people out to desolate cottages in mid-winter
where they sit in pain wearing earmuffs and thick scarves.
Imagine the torture.
Poetry is a pest
worse than gonorrhea, a terrible abomination.
But consider poets it's hard for them
bear with them!
They are hysterical as if they are expecting twins
they gnash their teeth while sleeping, they eat dirt
and grass. They stay out in the howling wind for hours
tormented by astounding metaphors.
Every day is a holy day for them.
Oh please, take pity on the poets
they are deaf and blind
help them through traffic where they stagger about
with their invisible handicap
remembering all sorts of stuff. Now and then one of them stops
to listen for a distant siren.
Show consideration for them.
Poets are like insane children
who've been chased from their homes by the entire family.
Pray for them
they are born unhappy
their mothers have cried for them
sought the assistance of doctors and lawyers, until they had to give up
for fear of loosing their own minds.
Oh, cry for the poets!
Nothing can save them.
Infested with poetry like secret lepers
they are incarcerated in their own fantasy world
a gruesome ghetto filled with demons
and vindictive ghosts.
When on a clear summer's day the sun shining brightly
you see a poor poet
come wobbling out of the apartment block, looking pale
like a cadaver and disfigured by speculations
then walk up and help him.
Tie his shoelaces, lead him to the park
and help him sit down on a bench
in the sun. Sing to him a little
buy him an ice cream and tell him a story
because he's so sad.
He's completely ruined by poetry.
[Translated by P.K. Brask & Patrick Friesen]