Through a dark forest, ‘cross the river Styx
March in single line in deep mud that sticks
A judge, a priest, a whore, an acrobat,
Doctor, waiter, clerk and a diplomat,
A wise old man riding astride a mule
And last in the line just a simple fool.
They reach the Gate of Hell that opens wide,
The only way’s in; none allowed to hide.
Each of them enters, somewhat impudent,
Except the last one, standing hesitant.
“Are you coming?” – turns the man on the mule.
“Going through that gate?… I’d be a damned fool!”…
Here is the riddle: tell me if you can
Amongst all us fools who is the best man?
The judge? The priest? The whore? The acrobat?
Doctor, waiter, clerk or the diplomat?
N’ tell me who is wiser: the simple fool
Or the wise old man riding on the mule?
© P. J. Oszmann 2003