WHY DOES THE PICKLE NEVER SING


(DLACZEGO OGÓREK NIE ¦PIEWA)


The question that our title
has cast in deathless bronze
is painful yet so vital,
we owe it a response.

If our little green friend
won't sing, croon, lilt or chant,
it's clear that, Heaven forfend,
it most probably can't.

But what if evil stars
trample its throat? If divine
airs die in air-tight jars,
engulfed by teary brine?

Meanwhile, time flies, alas
first sunshine, then rains trickle,
and still we callously pass
by many a pained pickle.

1953

[Translated by S. Barańczak and C. Cavanagh]