An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry/Thus sang the Waters
THUS SANG THE WATERS
Betwixt two fires, the sun and the earth, 'neath a spell thro' the ages we wander,
From the thirsting roots of life to ethereal stems we have mounted,
To the splendour of flowers, that were clutched by the spasm of grievous desires,
Thro' currents of nummulite oceans, thro' gloom of diluvial forests,
Thro' kingdoms of bygone creation gigantic,
Thro' caverns, where man, the mystical brother of beasts, the releaser of earth of the future,
Stilled within us the fire of his blood, beset with a curse,
Glowing eternally, ne'er to be quenchèd.
In stars of the morning dew, upon fields of battle we quivered,
In torrents of tears we fierily flowed over places of judgment,
To the quickening rhythms of life we sang within cities of marble,
'Neath the triumphal bridges, and 'mid beating of waves in the oceans,
With ironical pathos we thundered the epic of earths
Buried 'mid thousands of years In the glowing ferments of fire
We seethed to the cloud-concealed mountains' ethereal glaciers,
O'er the hidden lair of the golden sun at his setting,
Like airy mirages, recoiling on distant paths of the cosmos
From a mighty world, more resplendent.
The rainbow have we conjured in waterfalls' weeping, and under the starry mirrors of ocean
We hid the eternal war of our numberless creatures,
Mute and relentless, with flashes agleam in the murky depths.
Like to the luring orbs of serpents we glinted o'er treacherous whirlpools,
In scaly rivers, but like to the graveyards of thousands of graves,
In grief-ridden bays we poured like forgetfulness.
And with words of a prayer of blessing we murmured with fervour
O'er a magical seething of balm-laden springs of thousand-fold aspect.
Before the despairer's eyes our tender billows we opened,
Like numberless lips, in a frenzy eternally moving,
Rendered mute by the blow of a sudden conception abounding in horror.
But the conquerors from their heights our hidden secrets are reading,
From the silvery chart, that hlnms to them from the depths, like to lines on the hand of the night,
And as on the coin, the inscription's glittering impress, proclaiming the value,
The joyful secrets of life speak unto them out of our thousand paths,
That from all the mountainous summits are into one sea poured forth,
And from the multiple strains of our springs, our currents and oceans,
They hear a single beneficent power resounding,
That in changes unnumbered seeks the true face of the earth.
And lo! 'neath their gaze the shattered striving of millions of hands
Grows rigid in one gigantic spirit-like hand that is clasping the earth,
That with a sculptor's splendid and tragical gesture,
Kneading the sphere of his tractable clay,
Transforms the secret of things in accord with his vision's splendour,
In the torturing pang of creation,
Ever void of content.