Ballade [The goat scratches so much it can't sleep]

François Villon

Translated by Galway Kinnell
 
The goat scratches so much it can't sleep
The pot fetches water so much it breaks
You heat iron so much it reddens
You hammer it so much it cracks
A man's worth so much as he's esteemed
He's away so much he's forgotten
He's bad so much he's hated
We cry good news so much it comes.
You talk so much you refute yourself
Fame's worth so much as its perquisites
You promise so much you renege
You beg so much you get your wish
A thing costs so much you want it
You want it so much you get it
It's around so much you want it no more
We cry good news so much it comes.
You love a dog so much you feed it
A song's loved so much as people hum it
A fruit is kept so much it rots
You strive for a place so much it's taken
You dawdle so much you miss your chance
You hurry so much you run into bad luck
You grasp so hard you lose your grip
We cry good news so much it comes.
You jeer so much nobody laughs
You spend so much you've lost your shirt
You're honest so much you're broke
"Take it" is worth so much as a promise
You love God so much you go to church
You give so much you have to borrow
The wind shifts so much it blows cold
We cry good news so much it comes.
Prince a fool lives so much he grows wise
He travels so much he returns home
He's beaten so much he reverts to form
We cry good news so much it comes.
 
From The Poems of François Villon translated by Galway Kinnell, published by Houghton Mifflin, © 1965. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

Poems by This Author

Ballade [I die of thirst beside the fountain] by François Villon
I die of thirst beside the fountain


Further Reading

Related Poems
Ballad of the Goodly Fere
by Ezra Pound