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
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,
To wag a tail every godforsaken day.
- Orhan Veli Kanik (1914-1950)
translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat
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