the vanity oh human wishes

My child, Zeus the deep-thundering holds the ends of all
actions in his own hands, disposes as he will
of everything. We who are human have no minds,
but live, from day to day, like beasts and nothing know
of what God plans to make happen to each of us.
But hope and self-persuasion keep us all alive
in our unprofitable desires. Some watch the day
for what it brings, and some the turn of years, and none
so downcast he will not believe that time to come
will make him virtuous, rich, all his heart’s desire.
But other things begin to happen first; old age,
which no one wants, gets one before he makes his goal.
Painful diseases wear down some; others are killed in battle,
and death takes them under the dark earth.
Some, battered in the sudden hurricane on the sea,
where waves crowd big across the blue salt water, drown
and die, when all they looked for was some way to live.
Some loop (a dismal way to die) the noose around
their necks and go self-murdered from the sunlight. Thus
no evil thing is missing. In their thousands stand
bad spirits, and innumerable griefs, and pains
about our life. If men would take advice from me,
we should not long for what is really bad, nor buy
our heart’s own torment for our hard work done in vain.

Semonides

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the mutilated man

OH summer of ephemeral creatures,
summer that trusts in my eyes,
summer of the pure games of those about to die.

Free now from my iron head,
from my stealthy feet,
and from my nimble hands

I enter into the depths of your home.

Raúl Gustavo Aguirre

the human species

The human species has given me
the right to be mortal
the duty to be civilized
a conscience
2 eyes that don’t always function very well
a nose in the middle of my face
2 feet 2 hands
speech

the human species has given me
my father and mother
some brothers maybe who knows
a whole mess of cousins
and some great-grandfathers
the human species has given me
its 3 faculties
feeling intellect and will
each in moderation 32 teeth and 10 fingers a liver
a heart and some other viscera
human species has given me
what I’m supposed to be satisfied with

Raymond Queneau

illusion

As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today.
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

William Hughes Mearns

types I

Two women.
One when alone is exactly the same as she is in company,
the other in company exactly what she is when she is alone.
The latter holds herself badly in public,
The former puts on evening dress when she dines by herself.
One should marry neither.

Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry