Now some believe in Allah, in Mohammed or in Jesus; Some donít believe - not even in the devil out of spite. The Indians came up with a belief that ought to please us: That we donít die completely when we enter that good night. So if your soul aimed for the skies Next life a dream will find you - But if in this life youíre a swine Youíll come back as a swine too. If people look at you askance, just put up with their griping - But if you canít, take heart, youíll come back full of sharp replies; And if you watched in this life while your enemy was dying Youíre sure to be reborn with an unfailing eagle eye. So live as sensibly as poss - Thereís cause for celebrating; Your soul may transfer to a boss Next time itís emigrating.
The endless twists and turns require a wild imagination - Once lofty and distinguished, youíve now come back dumb and crass. And if youíre not too happy to be in this situation, You ought to thank your lucky stars youíve not been born an ass. So make hay while the sun still shines, Donít hang on to resentment - For if youíre petty you will find A louse is where youíre next sent.
Donít worry if you sweep the streets - youíll come back as team leader; And once youíve been team leader, yes, a minister youíll be. But if youíre thick as two short planks youíll end up as a tree for A thousand years, and till you die youíre going to stay a tree. Itís sad to be a hundred years A parrot or a serpent - Isnít it better while youíre here To be a decent person? So who is who and who was what? We never have an answer. Geneticists went round the twist with chromosomes and genes. Itís possible that mangy cat was once a cad and chancer While such a good and loyal dog that kindly man has been. And now my rapture knows no bounds - I shall not stray a smidgeon Because the Indians have found A comforting religion.
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2007