On First looking into Bill Johnston’s Pan Tadeusz
Much have I traveled in the lands of mold,
And many putrid odors I have smelled,
But never has a stinky fungus yelled
At me so loudly in a place so cold.
Oft for that wide expanse, those days of old,
Had I been looking, where good poets held
Their red hot torch up high prepared to weld
The lines with rhymes as down the page they scrolled.
It is all gone, for even in a poem
That one translates from poets of the past,
Though rhymes in the original hold fast,
They fail in foreign tongues, like dried out phloem;
While those translators, famous and smart-assed,
Don’t even ask forgiveness in the proem.