I climbed to the branches of a plum tree
I climbed to the branches of a plum tree,
And I helped myself to the grapes up there.
The owner of the orchard scolded me:
“What are you devouring my walnuts for?”
He made me into a thief–that was wrong:
So, in turn, I hurled slanders at him too–
And the peddler asked when he came along:
“You were to marry my daughter, weren’t you?”
I dumped sun-baked mud into the cauldron
And boiled it together with the North Wind.
“What on earth could this thing be?” asked someone;
Dipping the grapes I put them in his hand.
To the weaver at the loom, I gave thread
Which he chose not to wind into a ball;
To get the fabric orders out, he sped–
Those who want can now come and get it all.
I snatched one of the wings of a sparrow
And loaded it on to forty ox-carts.
Even forty spans failed to pull it, though;
So the sparrow’s wing got stuck in these parts.
A fly caught an eagle, lifted it high–
And smack onto the ground, a thumping thrust.
What I tell you is the truth, not a lie:
With my own eyes I saw the rising dust.
I had a wrestling match with a cripple–
With no hands, he grappled me by my legs;
I struggled, but couldn’t make a ripple.
He burnt me inside out, down to my dregs.
From the mythic mountain that girds the world
Down came on the road a rock aimed at me;
I was nearly struck by the stone they hurled;
It might have turned my face topsy-turvy.
The fish, it turns out, climbed the poplar tree
To gobble the pickles of tar up there.
The stork gave birth to a baby donkey;
You better get the meaning, don’t just stare.
To the blind, I gave signals with my hand;
Whatever I whispered, the deaf man heard.
The dumb broke into speech, called me out and
Repeated with me every single word.
I held an ox tight, with all my power,
I strangled it, threw it on the ground, loose;
Then the owner of the ox rushed over,
Saying, “That neck you just broke, that’s my goose!”
I got stuck again, couldn’t get away;
Just didn’t know what to do–how could I?
Then another peddler popped up to say,
“Why is it that you have plucked out my eye?”
I came upon a turtle on the way–
I had an eyeless serpent for comrade.
“I’ll ask you where you’re heading, if I may?”
“We hope to reach Caesarea,” they said.
These are the words that Yunus had to say,
His resembles no other utterance;
To keep it out of the hypocrites’ way
He has put the veil on the face of sense.