“Animals” (Westerbork, 1942)

I wish I were an animal
It’s hard here at the human end,
To be a person and be real,
And not just to pretend.

I’m very happy to intone,
I wish I were a bird,
I’d sing and sing for me alone,
I know it sounds absurd.

I wish I were a little pup,
So cuddly and so small,
They always lift your spirits up,
They’re loved by one and all.

I’d have no need to be ashamed
To go where e’er I roam,
Out on the streets I can’t be blamed,
For what’s now done at home.

I wish I were a mighty horse,
So noble and so proud,
An animal of such great force,
His presence is quite loud.

I’d let the circus pamper me,
For one month or one year
And when I’d learned enough to flee,
I’d start a new career.

I wish I were a donkey,
“Hee-haw” is all I’d say,
’Cause donkeys only know “haw-hee,”
That’s all they say all day.

But if someone asked to marry me,
I’d say “no way,” drop dead!
What a real ass I would be
To say “hee-haw” instead.

I’d be a chicken in its run
So plump and round and fine,
I’d cackle in the morning sun
And have a grand old time.

I’d bring my eggs to the market square
And sell them under the table.
Let the CCD* inspect my wares,
I’ll just run as soon as I’m able.

I wish I was a tiny flee,
Then life would be the best.
To suck men’s blood would be such glee,
I’d love to be a pest.

I’d pierce and prod and jab and prick
At men both big and small
I know exactly where to stick,
I’d drive them up the wall.

You do know what I mean, I’m sure,
Exactly what I desire.
But what can I do, I must endure,
I was born in human attire.

To live like a flea or a bird on the wing
Is as easy as one-two-three.
But to live the life of a human being
Is the hardest thing, mark me.

*Crisis Control Department set up by the Nazis to combat the illegal accumulation and sale of food.

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