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NERUDA, Jan

Do Frogs Exist there Too?

Frogs sat around a puddle

And gazed at heavens high

Frog teacher pounding into skulls

The science of the sky.

He spoke about the heavens

Bright dots we see there burning

And men watch them, "astronomers"

Like moles they dig for learning.

When these moles start to map the stars

The large becomes quite small

What's twenty million miles to us

They call one foot, that's all.

So, as those moles did figure out

(If you believe their plan)

Neptune is thirty feet away

Venus, less than one.

If we chopped up the Sun, he said

(Awed frogs could only stare)

We'd get three hundred thousand Earth's

With still a few to spare

The Sun helps us make use of time,

It rolls round heaven's sphere

And cuts a workday into shifts

"Forever" to a year

What comets are is hard to say

A strange manifestation

Though this is not a reason for

Some idle speculation

They are no evil sign, we hope

No reason for great fright

As in a story we got from

Lubyenyetsky, great knight

A comet there appeared, and when

It rays were seen by all

The cobblers in a tavern

Began a shameful brawl

He told them how the stars we see

So many, overhead

Are actually only suns

Some green, some blue, some red


And if we use the spectroscope

Their light tells, in addition

Those distant stars and our Earth

Have the same composition

He stopped. The frogs were overwhelmed.

Their froggy eyeballs rolled.

"What more about this universe

Would you like to be told?"

"Just one more thing, please tell us sir"

A frog asked, "Is it true?

Do creatures live there just like us

Do frogs exist there too?"

Translation: D.P. Stern