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Daniel Naborowski - THE BREVITY OF LIFE
THE BREVITY OF LIFE
An hour after hour inconceivably goes by:
A forebear lived, then you, now an heir came to life.
In brief: you won't be next day, what you are today,
And since you lived, they'll call you he who passed away;
Sound, shade, smoke, wind, flash, word
- that's what life is known for.
The sun which once passed by will not rise ever more,
Like a wheel with no brake fleeting time runs away,
Many who yearn for old age were thrown off astray
Just now when you are thinking, poor soul, you die out;
Between death and birth our life hardly marks about
A fourth of an instant; for many another
The cradle became a grave, a tomb their mother.
Translated by Michael J. Mikoś
'Word' - Naborowski speaks literally here about 'voice and point', i.e. vowels and consonants. The whole set phrase was used to show the quickly passing time.
Many people who plan to live long fall off the wheel of Fortune.