Two More Poems by Jörg Zink – Translated

I, Moles

Every being on this Earth has their own world
and every one is sure that their world is the only one
that really exists.

I think to myself:
Underneath the fig tree, in the loose soil,
lives a family of moles.

I imagine asking Daddy mole,
“How big is the world?”
He’ll think about this for a while, then say:
“It’s very big. It’s made of soil
that reaches two mole-lengths down.
Then you hit rock. That’s where the world ends.
It reaches two mole-lengths up,
then comes Hell. That’s where the devils are
who want to kill us with their spades.
This is where the world is, here in our burrows, 
here where there’s food for the noblest of creatures,
for us moles.”

His wife and child, however, consider
Father to be a wise man.
They roll themselves up in their cosy, soft, warm fur
and are sure that they
are living in the hub of the world,
privileged above all other creatures.

II. Beetles

Let’s have a little more fun:
In the grass at the edge of the field
two ladybirds are strolling through the clover
content after a good meal
and philosophising about the limits of existence.

One of them, his brow furrowed in thought,
starts thinking aloud:
“Might there not be creatures in the world
that are utterly different from us? Bigger? Stronger?
Wise and powerful? Humans, maybe?
Or whatever you want to call them.”

The other beetle laughs so hard that the blade of grass quivers.
“Humans? Are you kidding?
Have you ever seen one?”
“No, never seen any,” admits the first, abashed.

And they conclude that there can’t be any humans
as there’s no proof of their existence.
“The truth is,” says the second insect, 
“that nothing exists unless you can see it
and hear it and count it and define it,
and above all else, eat it.”
And they turn their smug attention 
to their dessert.

13 thoughts on “Two More Poems by Jörg Zink – Translated

  1. One way of looking at what’s our individual world is to consider it the extent of our experience. That’s more limiting for some than for others. Kind of like the beetles. However, with the power of thought, we can imagine a world far beyond our limited ability see, touch, smell…

    • I really like the implications of this poem (which is one reason I translated it 🙂 ) – was very tempted to add a little sketch but am daunted by trying to depict a ladybird with his/her brow furrowed in thought!

    • Have always been drawn to Camus – the only existentialist I could relate to. “Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.” Zink was a theologian, with a very strong Christian faith.

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