Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Prophet - Aleksandr Pushkin

I dragged my feet through desert gloom,
Tormented by the spirit's yearning.
And saw a six-winged Seraph bloom
Upon the footpath's barren turning.
And as a dream in slumber lies
So light his finger on my eyes, —
My wizard eyes grew wide and wary:
An eagle's, started from her eyrie.

He touched my ears. And lo! a sea
Of storming voices burst on me,
I heard the whirling heaven's tremor,
The angel's flight and soaring sweep,
The sea-snakes coiling in the deep,
And sap the vine's green tendrils carry.

And to my lips the Seraph clung —
And tore from me my sinful tongue,
My cunning tongue and idle-worded;
The subtle serpent's sting he set
Between my lips — his hand was wet,
His bloody hand my mouth begirded.

And with a sword he cleft my breast
And took the heart with terror turning,
And in my gaping bosom pressed
A coal that throbbed there, black and burning.

Upon the wastes, a lifeless clod,
I lay, I heard the voice of God;
"Arise, oh prophet, watch and hearken,
And with my Will thy soul engird
Through lands that din and seas that darken,
Burn thou men's hearts with this, my Word"

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin (1799 – 1837) Russia
Translated by Babette Deutsch
Source: World's great religious poetry by Caroline Miles Hill, 1923, Macmillan

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