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Threnody 5

Jan Kochanowski
translated by Leonard Kress

Like a tiny olive tree

                            in some vast orchard

Following the path

                          of its mother upward

Not yet with branch or leaf

                                       barely a sprouted shoot

That some zealous gardener

                                        might clip to uproot

Prickly thorns

                  or a dense patch of nettle —

Soon it will drop

                      losing the struggle

Limp by the foot

                       of its beloved mother.

And so my Ula

                    my own sweet daughter

How did you get so tangled up

                                             In Persephone's anger and grief

That you fell to our feet

                                  like some pruned leaf?

Translation © Leonard Kress, 2002.

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