Why did you give me Lord the option to write
To take notes and remember what ought to be forgotten
Live in the small and cramped and long for the higher
Under this harsh sun, this gray sky.

Why did you give me Lord the illusion to hope
To hold court in the blue sky and reign in the clouds
When you knew I’d fall and am still falling
Into these crag-filled craters full of winter.

Why did you give me Lord the weakness to weep
To cross every threshold and go without looking back
And everything I wove and built surrender to the stronger
Whose greed is stronger and nobility feebler.

Why did you give me Lord the ability to love
And for my love to froth for years like Niagara
Wouldn’t I have fared better in heaven’s quarantine
In whose whiteness those who are scorned and unloved thrive.

Before whose door did you leave me to despair
With a body that cannot fly and a soul that like smoke drifts
Why didn’t you leave on the cruel Herzegovian mountain
That even on St. Elias’s Day is covered with hoarfrost.

Translated by Charles Simic