To de Nerval
My life too has become like a lobster
yes, a lobster
I take walks, on a lead,
because it doesn’t bark
and it knows the secrets of the deeps.
I know who I am
because the lobster belongs to me
and the lobster knows it’s a lobster
because I have it on a lead.
And I divide people
into four groups:
those who see only the lobster
those who pretend not to see it
those who call the lobster a dog
and those who look at me
as if they haven’t seen the lobster at all.
Translated by Robin Fulton, from Modern Poetry in Translation no. 18, 2001