The world is full of double beds
And most delightful maidenheads,
Which being so, there’s no excuse
For sodomy of self-abuse.
In slandering and reviling you persist,
Calling me infidel and atheist:
My errors I will not deny, but yet
Does foul abuse become a moralist?
Heed not the Sunna, nor the law divine;
If to the poor his portion you assign,
And never injure one, nor yet abuse,
I guarantee you heaven, and now some wine!
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Long had I grieved at what I deemed abuse;
But now I am as grain within the mill.
If so be thou must crush me for thy use,
Grind on, O potent God, and do thy will!
A poet can't be in disfavour,
he needs no awards, no fame.
A star has no setting whatever,
no black nor a golden frame.
A star can't be killed with a stone, or
award, or that kind of stuff.
He'll bear the blow of a fawner
lamenting he's not big enough.
What matters is music and fervour,
not fame, nor abuse, anyway.
World powers are out of favour
when poets turn them away.
© Copyright Alec Vagapov's translation
Never a careworn wife but shows,
If a joy suffuse her,
Something beautiful to those
Patient to peruse her,
Some one charm the world unknows
Precious to a muser,
Haply what, ere years were foes,
Moved her mate to choose her.
But, be it a hint of rose
That an instant hues her,
Or some early light or pose
Wherewith thought renews her -
Seen by him at full, ere woes
Practised to abuse her -
Sparely comes it, swiftly goes,
Time again subdues her.