Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Life - Emile Verhaeren

To see beauty in all, is to lift our own Soul
Up to loftier heights than do chose who aspire
Through culpable suffering, vanquished desire.
Harsh Reality, dread and ineffable Whole,
Distils her red draught, enough tonic and stern
To intoxicate heads and to make the heart burn.

O clean and pure grain, whence are purged all the tares!
Clear torch, chosen out amid many whose flame;
Though ancient in splendour, is false to its name!
It is good to keep step, though beset with hard cares,
With the life that is real, to the far distant goal,
With no arm save the lucid, white pride of one's soul!

To march, thus intrepid in confidence, straight
On the obstacle, holding the stubborn hope
Of conquering, thanks to firm blows of the will,
Of intelligence prompt, or of patience to wait;
And to feel growing stronger within us the sense,
Day by day, of a power superb and intense!

To love ourselves keenly those others within
Who share a like strife with us, soar without fear
Toward that one future, whose footsteps we hear;
To love them, heart, brain, and because we are kin
Because in some dark, maddened day they have known
One anguish, one mourning, one string with our own!

To be drunk with the great human battle of wills—
—Pale, fleeting reflex of the monstrous assaults,
Golden movements of planets in heaven's high vaults—
Till one lives in all that which acts, struggles, and thrills,
And avidly opens one's heart to the law
That rules, dread and stern, the whole universe o'er!

Emile Verhaeren (1855 - 1916) Belgium
Translated by Alma Strettell
Source: Poems of Emile Verhaeren selected and rendered into English by Alma Strettell, Bodley Head, 1915 (on Project Gutenberg)

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