The guinea fowl
The guinea fowl counts: one, two, three, four …
Pray what is all that counting for,
Out there among the deep dark pine trees?
The bird, driven by knowledge’s itch,
And doing so without a glitch,
Is counting what it’s worth in guineas.
– Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914)
Translated from German by Johannes Beilharz (© 2008)
The original can be found at Garden of Literary Confusion.
thank you so much for the translation
would anyone please help me understanding the full meaning of this poem?
You can’t just have a meaning as if it were some translation into common sense. The meaning develops little by little, mostly. Some jokes work like that, too. You can see their point only after some time.
Morgenstern himself called them delayed-action jokes.