O wide and sad land, alone under the huge southern stars. Will a higher exaltation never flow from your quiet sorrow? You know the pain and lonely suffering of ignorant individuals, the remote death in the veld, the little funeral; simple people who faithfully and singlehandedly perform bitter tasks, and one by one fall like bits of seed; quiet deed, small faithfulness, small faithlessness of those who assume another service deserting you like common labourers.
Will a mighty beauty never come over you like the hail white summercloud which bleeds over your dark mountains, and never a deed be performed, which sweeps loudly over the earth and teases the years in their impotence; of such pure shining magnitude, that people in a far-off land hearing mention of your name, will stare with wild and bright eye like ancient mariners in the night amazed by horison above horison seeing the new, huge flower stars ascend up from your sea's white danger?
Joy, you holy spark immortal, Daughter of Elysium, Drunk with rapture, to the portal Of your temple now we come! Culture's course, indeed, may sever, What your magic joins again; All humankind are brethren ever Beneath your mild and gentle wing.
CHORUS Welcome embraces all earthly creatures! For the whole world this kiss of love! Brethren, in the starry realms above See the Creator's loving features!
From the breasts of kindly Nature All of joy imbibe the dew; Good and bad alike, each creature Her roseate path together pursue. 'Through her kiss and wine-cup madden, A friend ‘til death to us she gives! With bliss even the worm she gladdens,— Like for its God the cherub lives! CHORUS You bow before her, all creation? Do you feel your creator, world? Seek her above the stars unfurled,— The universe is her habitation!
Joy, in all Nature's eternal dominion, The first cause of all is to be found; Joy it is that drives the pinion, When the universal wheel goes round; From the bud she lures the flower— Suns from out their orbs of light; Distant spheres obey her power, Far beyond all mortal sight. CHORUS As through the heaven's system glorious In their orbits suns roll on, Brethren, thus your course you run, Joyous as a hero victorious!
Courage, never by suffering broken! Help where tears of innocence flow; Faith to keep each promise spoken! Truth alike to friend and foe! Manly pride before kingly thrones!— Brethren, if it cost us home and blood— To those who earn them go the crowns, Death to all the liars’ brood! CHORUS Draw the sacred circle closer! By this bright wine swear your troth To be faithful to your oath! Swear it in the court of the Stars!
Thus driven forth forever to new shores, Born toward Eternal Night and never away, Sailing the Sea of Ages, can we not Drop anchor for one day? O Lake! The year has scarcely spun its course. Now, by the waves she meant to see again, Watch how I sit, alone, upon this stone On which you saw her then.
You lowed as now below those plunging cliffs. As now, you broke about their riven flanks. As now, the wind flung your foam forth to wash Her feet which graced your banks.
One evening we two roamed -remember?- in silence: On waves and under heaven, far and wide, No sound came save the cadence of the oarsmen Stroking your tuneful tide. Then sudden tones, unfathomed on this earth, Resounded round the echoing, spellbound shore. The tide turned heedful; and I heard these words From the voice I adore: Suspend your trek O Time! Suspend your flights O favoring hours, and stay! Let us pause, savoring the quick delights That fill the dearest day. Unhappy crowds cry out to you in prayers. Flow, Time, and set them free. Run through their days and through their ravening cares! But leave the happy be.
In vain I ask for hours to linger on And Time slips into flight. I tell this night: "Be slower!" and the dawn Undoes the raveled night. Let's love, then! Love, and feel while feel we can The moment on its run. There is no shore of Time, no port of Man. It flows, and we go on. Covetous Time! Our mighty drunken moments When love pours forth huge floods of happiness; Can it be that they fly from us no faster Than days of wretchedness? Why can't we keep some trace of them, at least? Why lost forever? Why beyond recall? Will Time that gave them, Time that now destroys them Not bring them back at all? Eternity, naught, past, dark gulfs: what do You do with days of ours which you devour? Speak! Will you not bring back those sublime things? Return the raptured hour?
O Lake! Caves! Speechless ledges! Gloaming glades! You whom Time shields or can bring back to light, Beautiful Nature, keep the memory- The memory of that night: Memory in your stillness and your storms, Fair Lake, in your cavorting sloping sides, In the black firtrees, in the savage rocks Rising above your tides; Memory in the breathings of the zephyr, In shore whose sounds resound to shore each night, And in the silver visage of the star Touching you with soft light. Let the bewailing winds and sighing reeds, Let the light balm you blow through cliff and grove, Let all that man can hear, behold or breathe All say: "They were in love."
For the sun's pure power, I write, for the full sea, for the full and open road, wherever I can I sing, only the vagrant night detains me but I gain space in that interruption, I gain shadow for lengths of time. Night's black wheat grows while my eyes measure the field. I forge keys from dawn to dusk: I search for locks in the darkness and I go throwing open ruined gates to the sea until the wardrobes are full of foam.
I never tire of going and returning, death does not stop me with its stone, I never tire of presence and absence. Sometimes I ask myself if it was from my father or my mother or the mountains I inherited these mineral tasks, veins of a burning ocean, and I know I go on, and go on to go on, and I sing to sing on, and to sing. Nothing explains what happens when I close my eyes and circle as if between two undersea channels, one lifts me up to die in its branches and the other sings so I might sing.
So then, I am composed of absence and akin to the sea that assaults the reef with its briny globules of whiteness and takes back the stone into the wave. So that whatever of death surrounds me opens in me the window on life and in the full paroxysm I am sleeping. To the full light I go on through the shadow.
They came to the beautiful, running river And the laundry pools, where the clear water Flowed through strongly enough to clean Even the dirtiest clothes. They unhitched the mules And shooed them out along the swirling river's edge To munch the sweet clover. Then they unloaded The clothes, brought them down to the water, And trod them in the trenches, working fast
And making a game of it. When the clothes were washed They spread them out neatly on the shore of the sea Where the waves scoured the pebbled beach clean.
Then they bathed themselves and rubbed rich olive oil Onto their skin, and had a picnic on the river's banks While they waited for the sun to dry the clothes. When the princess and her maids had enough to eat They began to play with a ball, their hair streaming free.
Artemis sometimes roams the mountains— Immense Taygetus, or Erymanthus— Showering arrows upon boars or fleet antelope, And with her play the daughters of Zeus
Who range the wild woods—and Leto is glad That her daughter towers above them all With her shining brow, though they are beautiful all—
The princess threw the ball to one of the girls, But it sailed wide into deep, swirling water. The girls screamed, and Odysseus awoke.
He broke off a leafy branch from the undergrowth And held it before him to cover himself.
A weathered mountain lion steps into a clearing, Confident in his strength, eyes glowing. The wind and rain have let up, and he's hunting Cattle, sheep, or wild deer, but is hungry enough To jump the stone walls of the animal pens.
I create an elephant of my scarce resources. Some pieces of wood taken of old furniture might keep him straight. And I fill him up with cotton, silk and sweetness. The glue will fast his saggy ears. The trunk curls and it is the happiest part of his architecture. But there are also the tusks, made of such a pure material that I can not duplicate. Such a white this richness exposed in the circus without loss or corruption. And finally the eyes, where is held
the most fluid and permanent part of the elephant, disconnected of every fraud. Here, my poor elephant, ready to leave and search for friends in a world already tired that no longer believes in animals and doubts things. Here he is, puissant and fragile mass, winnows himself and moves slow his sewed skin where flowers of cloth and clouds are allusions to a more poetic world where love retakes the natural forms.
There goes my elephant through a crowded street, but they do not want to see him even not to laugh at his tail, which might leave him walking alone. He is all grace, although his legs are not of much help and his big belly threatens to fall off at the slightest touch. He shows with elegance his minimal life, and in town, there is no soul willing to take from that sensitive body his fugacious image, the clumsy steps, yet hungry and touching.
But hungry for pathetic beings and situations, for encounters under the moonlight in the deepest ocean, under the roots of trees or in the centre of the shells, for lights that do not blind as they shine through the most thick trunks. This step that goes without crushing the plants in the battle field, searching for places, secrets, episodes not written in books, which only the wind, the leaves, the ants recognize the style while the men ignore it, for they only dare to show themselves under the peace of a curtain to their tired eyelid.
And late in the night my elephant returns, returns tired, the uncertain feet melt in the dust. He did not find what he needed, what we needed, I and my elephant, in which I love to disguise myself. Exhausted of searching, his engine falls down as if it was a mere piece of paper. The glue dissolves, and all his inner material, the forgiveness, the caress, the feather, the cotton spill over the carpet like a dismembered myth. Tomorrow I begin again.