The Constancy of Merriment and Dirt by Daniil Kharms

Cool Water gurgles in the river

and the mountains’ shadow lies on the fields

and light fades in the sky. And birds

are already flying in dreams.

And the yardman with the black moustache

stands all night by the gate

and under his dirty hat he scratches

the back of his head with dirty hands.

And through the window come merry shouts,

the stamping of feet and the ring of bottles.

 

A day goes by, then a week,

and then the years go by

and people vanish

in neat ranks into their graves.

While the yardman with the black moustache

stands for years by the gate

and under his dirty hat he scratches

the back of his head with dirty hands.

And through the window come merry shouts,

the stamping of feet and the ring of bottles.

 

The moon and the sun have paled,

constellations have changed shape,

motion has become sticky

and time has become like sand.

While the yardman with the black moustache

stands again by the gate

and under his dirty hat he scratches

the back of his head with dirty hands.

And through the window come merry shouts,

the stamping of feet and the ring of bottles.

 

by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Kharms, 1933)

translated by Robert Chandler

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On Mules We Find Two Legs Behind by Anon

On mules we find two legs behind

And two we find before.

We stand behind before we find

What those behind be for.

We find before the two before

Just what they, too, be for.

so stand before the two behind

and behind the two before.

 

by Anon

On Tuesdays I Polish My Uncle by Dennis Lee

I went to play in the park.

I didn’t get home until dark.

But when I got back I had ants in my pants

And my father was feeding the shark.

 

I went to play in the park.

And I didn’t come home until dark.

And when I got back I had ants in my pants

And dirt in my shirt, and glue in my shoe,

And my father was tickling the shark.

 

I went to sleep in the park.

The shark was starting to bark.

And when I woke up I had ants in my pants,

Dirt in my shirt, glue in my shoe,

And beans in my jeans and a bee on my knee,

And the shark was tickling my father.

 

My father went off to the park.

I stayed home and read to the shark.

And when he got back he had ants in his pants,

Dirt in his shirt, glue in his shoe,

Beans in his jeans, a bee on his knee,

Beer in his ear and a bear in his hair,

So we put him outside in the ark.

 

I started the ark in the dark.

My father was parking the shark.

And when we got home we had ants in our pants,

Dirt in our shirt, glue in our shoe,

Beans in our jeans, a bee on our knee,

Beer in our ear and a bear in our hair,

A stinger in our finger, a stain in our brain,

And our belly-buttons shone in the dark.

 

So my dad he got snarky and barked at the shark

Who was parking the ark on the mark in the dark.

And when they got back they had ants in their pants,

Dirt in their shirt, glue in their shoe,

Beans in their jeans, a bee on their knee,

Beer in their ear and a stain in their brain,

A small polka-dot burp, with headache tablets,

And a ship on the lip and a horse, of course,

So we all took a bath in the same tub and went to bed early.

 

by Dennis Lee