There’s some believe in God, and some in Allah for salvation, And some believe in nothing, and treat everyone with spite. But Hindus have a nice idea that’s called reincarnation: That when we die, we’re born as we deserve - I hope they’re right. If upward strives your soul divine, Reborn, to heights you’ll fly. But if you’ve lived life like a swine, You’ll wake up in a sty. Let people look at you askance, reproaches cannot hurt you. Don’t worry, when you’re born again, you’ll know how to reply. And if you see your foe’s demise in this life, for your virtue, The next time round you’ll find you have a piercing eagle eye. Live happily, and don’t get cross, No need to sit there moping. Next life, perhaps you’ll be the boss. Well, there’s no harm in hoping.
Live out your life in sweeping roads, next time you could be foreman, And after that you might end up as minister, no joke! But if you’re thicker than a plank, you’ll be a tree for sure, man, And for the next two hundred years, you’ll stand there as an oak. So who was pretty Polly then, And who that writhing adder? Much better be a decent man, And climb on up the ladder. So who is who, and who was what, will always be a riddle. He who was no’one shall be all, just think what that implies! Maybe that scruffy cat was once a rascal on the fiddle, And that nice chap’s a faithful dog, who now has won his prize. I jump for joy! Oh, what relief! I’ll not yield to temptation! It’s such a comforting belief, Is this reincarnation!
© Jack Doughty. Translation, 1988