The dogs of athens

Poem By Maarja Kangro

In Pláka, around the Acropolis,
not to mention elsewhere,
multitudes stroll and sleep.
Big dogs. Gentle, polite.

With the enthusiasm of puppies
we translate the deep language,
I take pictures of the dogs:
yellow, white, grey, black.

„There is not a single small one.'
You glow like a scientist:
„All the small ones died! '
Your blue eyes are bright with excitement.

The almond was once poisonous,
all peas tiny as grains of salt,
and man a bloodthirsty midget!
Or what?

We are bigger than our ancestors,
the two of us love courtesy.
„There is some kind of melancholy
in these surviving dogs.'

„The nice ones ate the others? '
We sit and eat our dinner
in memory of the cynics - the right ones -
and to the health of polite dogs.

Translated by the author and Brandon Lussier

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