by Wisllawa Szymborska
From her collection entitled view with a grain of sand
A dead beetle lies on the path through the field.
Three pairs of legs folded neatly on its belly.
Instead of death's confusion, tidiness and order.
The horror of this sight is moderate,
its scope is strictly local, from the wheat grass to the mint.
The grief is quarantined.
The sky is blue.
To preserve our peace of mind, animals die
more shallowly: they aren't deceased, they're dead.
They leave behind, we'd like to think, less feeling and less
departing, we suppose, from a stage less tragic.
Their meek souls never haunt us in the dark,
they know their place,
they show respect.
And so the dead beetle on the path
lies unmourned and shining in the sun.
One glance at it will do for meditation -
clearly nothing much has happened to it.
Important matters are reserved for us,
for our life and our death, a death
that always claims right of way.