Unjust Praise

In the beginning
The spirit moving
Upon the face of the waters
And in the breaking waves
Tasted salt


And I see fields of it
Drying on the shore.
We let in shallow lakes of sea
To evaporate,
And the salt


Accumulates along their edge
Thanks to the sunlight:
Crystal white,
Enough for everyone,
Harvested and sold


In every shop and on the roads:
Salt!-
In proper measure
Bringing out the taste,
The flavor and spirit


Of our food, hot or cold.
Why should pepper get
So much admiration
When salt does all the work?


By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright © 2005 by Charles Cantalupo and Ghirmai Negash. All rights reserved.