To A Dead Rat Found In A Park


Mário Cesariny de Vasconcelos

Here this creature ended its vast career

as a dark and living rat beneath the starry expanses

its tiny size only humiliates

those who want everything to be enormous

and who can only think in human or arboreal terms

for surely this rat used as well as it knew how (or didn’t know how)

the miracle of its little feet—so close to its snout!—

which were after all just right, serving perfectly

for clawing, scurrying, getting food or beating a retreat, when necessary

So is everything as it should be, O "God of small cemeteries"?

But who knows, who can know when a mistake has been made

in hell’s main office? Who can be sure

that this creation so disdained by the world

but with a world inside it

wasn’t initially conceived to be a prince or judge of nations?

The worries it aroused in housewives and doctors!

Who are we to play at good and evil when they’re beyond us?

Some boy understood the uniqueness of its life

and ran over it with the wheel by which, eye to eye,

the victim and the executioner love each other.

It had no friends? It deceived its parents?

It ran around, a tiny body that had fun

and now just lies there, gooshy, smelly.

What sort of conclusion does this poem,

without any exaggeration, merit?

Romantic? Classical? Regionalist?

What end should go to a brave and humble body

killed at the height of its lyrical powers?

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