Three poems

Transitions №5

Author: Nina Kossman


O laziness, I sing of thee!
How I wish I could be yours,
from early morn till late at night!
Yours totally, o laziness,
so I would not have to do the things I hate,
so I would never have to get up early,
never get dressed while I’m still asleep,
never drink coffee in a hurry, never rush to work,
never wait for lunch the way believers wait for God,
never hurry back home and go back to sleep,
because sleep is what I love the most,
o laziness, I sing of thee!

* * *

“Not by bread alone!” he said
And lived on nothing but air.

“Not by flesh alone!” he said.
And the flesh obeyed.

“Not by filthy lucre alone!” he said.
And billions flowed into his hand.

“Not by coal and oil alone!” he said.
And every home was heated by solar.

“Not by faith alone!” he said.
And we all became atheists.

“Not by a rejection of faith!”
And we all became wind.

* * *

A free man rose and said:
I am free and yet I am nothing.
A slave rose and said:
I am a slave and I want to be free.
A child said quietly: I want to be big.
And only an old man said nothing.
A politician said: I will make our country great!
And the people rose to follow him.
The word “great” meant to each his own:
the freeman wanted to be something;
the slave imagined himself finally free;
the child imagined himself all grown up,
only the old man imagined nothing —
he had heard so many promises
that the word “great” had no meaning for him,
except “an illusion,” “vanity,” and “a lie”.
But instead of explaining this
to the free man, the slave, and the child,
who yearned for what they could not have,
the old man thought, Why bother?
If it’s their time to be fooled by words.
and if that’s what they want, let them.