Circus Animals
Wislawa Szymborska

Bears are tapping their paws to the beat,
a lion jumps through a flaming hoop,
a monkey in a yellow tunic rides a bicycle,
the whip cracks and the music sounds,
the whip cracks and animals roll their eyes,
an elephant carries around a pitcher on his head,
dogs are dancing with carefully measured steps.

I'm very much ashamed, I --a human.

A horrible time was had that day:
boisterous applause was not lacking,
though an arm longer by the length of a whip
cast a sharp shadow on the sand.

-translated by Walter Whipple