Friday, June 08, 2007

Poetry Friday: La Fontaine

This week's Poetry Friday entry comes from a book I reviewed last October--The Hare and the Tortoise and other Fables of La Fontaine, translated by Ranjit Bolt and illustrated by Giselle Potter. Sometimes only a fable will do.

"The Lion and the Rat"

You want a piece of good advice?
There is no harm in being nice,
And that means to one and all,
To weak and strong, to big and small:
There always is a chance that they
Will be of use to you some day.
The following tale is proof of that.
One day a rather reckless rat,
Leaving its hole and going outdoors,
Emerged between a lion's paws.

The lion decides to spare the rat and it pays off when, one day, the lion is trapped in a hunter's net.

And then the rat ran up and gnawed
The nasty squares of narrow cord
That made the net up, one by one,
Until enough had come undone
To make a spacious opening gape
Through which the lion could escape.
Which proves another point of course--
Time will accomplish more than force,
No matter though it take an age,
And quiet patience more than rage.