13 August 2011

Bread and Wine (Friedrich Hölderlin)


But my friend, we have come too late. True, the gods are still alive
But somewhere high above us, in another world.
There they repeat themselves eternally, and don’t give a damn
If we live or die, so little do they care about us.
For a weak vessel cannot contain them. Only from time to time
Can humans bear the fullness of the gods. And therefore,
The life we know is a dream about them. But confusion
And sleep assist us, sorrow and night make us strong,
And soon heroes enough will emerge from the warlord’s cradle,
With hearts rivaling a god’s in courage.
In the meantime, I believe it is better to sleep than to live
Without friends, waiting without hope, not knowing the right
Thing to say or do -- and what, after all, is the use
And purpose of poets in an age of darkness?
Yet you say they are like the priests of the wine god,
Moving from place to place in the sacred night.

1 comment:

v. Braun. said...

Bread is the fruit of earth, yet touched by the blessings
Of light, and, from the thundering god, comes the joy of wine.

Thereby, partaking of them, we think of the heavenly,
Who once were here and will return at the moment prepared;
Therefore poets sing earnest songs to the wine god
And never idly compose songs of praise for the ancients...