The Story Of The Wizard, Who Travelled To The Stars

by M. Eminescu (1850-1889)


A long time ago, when each of the sky's star,
It was a fair young woman with thick blond hair.
And descending from their mysterious deep space on a ray,
They often plunged into the blue sea —
When the beloved fairy-tales were yet based on reality,
And when meditation was sentry against superstition and fantasy,
A glorious empire existed on this planet in those times.
It had countries full of pride, and one thousand fine cities.

A very well known emperor was then in power
—An old man, who had turned hundred at that very hour —
He kept a strong rule over his land,
With his wrinkled, thin, yet, very strong hand.
And prosperous countries and the murky sea
At his strong say, get going in a big way.
But people aren't amazed at his strength, which prevails.
They are amazed at his great and just wisdom.

In the Assembly Room with glossy waxy marble-murals,
There are sumptuous rugs on the floors, and a gilded row of pillars
With arches that lift their bold curvature.
On its blue ceiling it has stars similar to a red flower.
It has indoors plants that make the winter, look like some mild-springs.
And the plants cast perfumed shade on the room's wide wings.
The emperor gathers there with his nobles in conference.
He sits still on his gold throne, and he listens in silence.

His long and curly grey plaits falls to his shoulders,
Which are like big, white and stretched swans-wings.
His long and thick beard falls to his chest.
And his eye has a sad twinkle, like a dim star.
His old and thick eyebrows looks like are made of silk.
With a golden sceptre in his hand— his heavy burden —
With an ancient golden crown on his head,
It seems he waits for the tragic encounter with his death.

The nobles sit around him on seats of honour.
They look like the ended days.
And they are as pale like the sun's rays.
Grown old, with white beards on silent chests,
The white of ravages of years is amassed on each one's head.
On their shoulders, a generation comes swift to an end.
They gaze from their past — like days that had ended —
At that sun, which shone on them with favour.

In the courtyard, the army band play a victory tune
That people hear, by thousands are in motion.
From the straight columns, from murals' entrance,
The glory flags flutter — loosen by the raised noise.
All of a sudden, the king gets off his throne, on his feet
— The same way a lion gets off its granite rock lookout.
His voice trembles, while it is clear and soft.
Trembling, he delivers a gem of a speech.

"Old age had amassed on my shoulders.
My life's drive is depleted from my bones and veins.
And the royal hand is frail and thin.
I fade away on my throne, like an old fir tree on a cliff.
Soon, death will stretch out over me its brown shroud…
And my soul shall depart rising with its wings.
Death shall anoint my brow with cold holy water.
And my old heart shall slow its pulse.

And before my soul's stretched wings shall spread out
To the stars' realm, lifted like a tent…
Before my body shall fall into decay…
Before my life spool is shattered…
I pray to Heaven, to postpone the moment I breathe my last.
So I can place on young shoulders the empire that I lead.
While I am still alive, I shall place the vast empire
On my son' s shoulders, with the emperor's purple attire.

But life has many wicked and slippery ways,
Much tempting anyone with its beloved looks;
And the empire's harnesses may seem heavy to my son.
And he might drop them off his hands at the start of his reign.
Since a king's days hold dangers.
He may choose the string of pleasures. Then, he becomes a follower.
And the spur straps of power fall in the hands of crooks.
And they will manoeuvre the empire's affairs.

I like to test him before I bestow my golden crown on his brown curls.
I wouldn't like him to give in to devious pleasures.
These restrict one's thoughts, with a feeling of false morals.
I don't want this world to make him drunk with dreams.
Because the majority of people rush after nothing else,
Except to see in the world book a candid prediction.
Because if not, one's days are a dream, and life is an illusion.

And so, ahead of my sacred hour of my death,
I met you all, so you can judge if I am right or not.
Where foamy rivers commence their downward flow,
In the shade of beech forests,
On the high mountain that squeezes its peak through the clouds,
So it can get to the sun — there lives an old wizard.
However, when he was young, he was so mature.
Eternity's flow can't bother him at all.

His head has accumulated an age of wisdom.
The world's whole existence could find room in his head.
He can tell you the past, and the yet to come…
The old man is like the time with no beginning.
The transit of the heavenly bodies follows his quiet scrutiny.
And the skies' sun highlights his say.
Therefore I select him to teach my son,
Which ways of life are bad, and which ones are full of glory.

But he never comes down from his mountain.
Since he doesn't want to lose sight of the world's target.
As the gauge with what he quantifies,
Might alter somehow in his absence.
Then, he will be forced to start again, right from the start.
And he might not be able stop the brainwave of the wicked.
He who wants to unlock life's mystery,
Has to climb up that mountain.

With his dark curls — what a superb shine…
With his slim face — how pale and fine…
With his big eyes that guide his alert appearance…
His head has a curve that points out, and it vanishes in curls.
And so, the young prince, captivated by his thought
He rests against the main gold door's threshold.
He hears his father's decree and he bows.
It is a sign he yields to the proposed law.

He comes close, with a humble, soft, and relaxed walk.
And he kneels with respect at the step of the throne.
"Tomorrow when night shall carry away the gentle sun,
When the bell shall toll with the evening's sweet tone,
At that time I shall leave on a lean horse's back.
I shall travel to the foot of the mountain called Spellbound-to-Fortune.
And later I shall climb the mountain,
So I can place wings to my thoughts.

Wings so I can see what pride is.
So I can leap over man's petty and wretched journey.
Sure that I shall tread on the thorny way of life.
And the step of my whole life shall be lead by wisdom.
Like everything I shall do, it shall be good deeds.
And my life's burden — no matter how severe it may be —
Will be lessened only if I will listen to the voice of pure decency.
Father, I shall keep in mind to stick to your ways.

Withdrawn to a large rose-coloured marble hall,
Girded with a black and shiny waist ribbon,
He raises his glance towards the sky's fields.
And his thought is roving through endless lands,
Like the depths of the ocean — with staggered waves—
So in his mind join thought-by-thought, in a long trance.
His lips move with a gentle and sad smile.
And his soul is being filled by a wild desire.

He asks himself what his soul wants, and he doesn't know.
He looks at the stars, and at the Moon, which is like an age-old dream.
The Moon eats greedily long clouds with its blond look.
And recurring dreams lie to him, and throw him off balance.

He feels being caressed by the wing of an angel.
Shaking, he touches the angel's smooth brow.
And he likes to embrace the angel's neck.
So they could both fly to the endless field full of stars.
"Likewise— he talks to himself— every person in this world
Has a gentle star on the limitless sky,
That in the book of eternity is close-knit to his name,
With the aim to set alight the white beam for him.

So my logic you, I ask you to answer me a specific question.
Which one is my star, from the blue outer limits?
Is it that red one like a rose, which is still and dim on the edge,
That out of the hub, it shines a golden brainwave on me?

When a person is born, an angel lights a star in the sky.
And the angel comes down to Earth in a person's body of clay.
It stretches wings to his or her thought.
And it bestows sweet speech in his or her silent chest.
Since it is a candle for this life, dependent on the heavens.
The angel goes to write the newborn child' s fate.
When he or she dies, his or her soul stretches its wings.
The angel goes back to the sky, and on his way switches off the star.

But what is that star? Is it a lit candle sent off on the sky's big wave?
Or it is a golden switch that switches off the power
Perched on the nature's tree,
And shaken down by death's heavy hand…
And if a powerful and huge star is there,
Is it truly a star linked to my life?
Does it aim on me its outside influence?
When I die, does it switch off and fall down into the void's gap?

Why is my life linked to a heavenly place?
Is it intended to awake my body with its pure energy?
Why a pale angel comes down from the sky?
Why does a soul come down in an ugly body?
Why is everyone chastised by heaven
To spend his or her life shoved on swaddling clothes?
Who gives permission to each good angel
— To come down on this Earth once in his life?

And the shiny walls of pure red marble,
Reflect the Moon's light, inside the hall,
And in the air around him,
Because the rays join, blur, distort,
And soft voices like crying harps are heard
In the sweet, purple brain-teasing atmosphere.
But it is not a real sound, just his thoughts.
A sweet voice that trembles with grief, answers:

"When God had created an assembly of guardian angels,
He wanted to test everyone, and see if the person is good or bad.
Because He doesn't want to see again what He once saw.
Large factions of bad angels didn't listen to His Word.
And with restless minds they turned the sky on its head.
Until they fell stunned, inside the very old chasm.
Because of that, an angel comes down to be tested.
And it is born once as a human being.

When the midnight hour strikes in the life of mankind,
The blind love wanders smiling through the sky at that time.
So that angels, white spirits, go red in the face.
And they feast their blue eyes on it.
With shy eye, they lean down towards the Earth, and fall head-over-heels.
By now, transformed into earthly beings, with their frail bodies,
They incarnate into human bodies, which wait for their coming.
They come down through man's checkpoint.

But until an angel could seize a body on Earth,
Above mankind's checkpoint, on luminous thoroughfares
—Which is his vast realm — he lights a star on the sky.
There he shall reign, when he departs Earth's Valley.
But his heavenly reign is dependent on his life in this world.
If he is evil, the star jumps into the night of the wicked.
And the good angels' vast realms are without a doubt
Real worlds on the sky's dome;

No sooner that some angels leave the dome's large pillars,
As soon as they leave heaven, and its blossoming court,
They hardly have time to waste.
They come down to Earth and discover that their love is dead.
Then, they embrace it.
And glowing blue, they take it to their wealthy realm.
These are gentle and timid angels.
They are so innocent that they shouldn't be tested in this world.

A pale angel's earthly destiny
It is linked with the fate of the chosen body.
Their heavenly reign is subject to this life span.
What they sow on Earth, they reap in heaven.
Often unhappy with a fate of a king,
They choose to be born as a rich man.
A huge star plummets into the void
When a powerful but quick-tempered emperor dies.

But on this large sky that shines on many planets,
If you don't have an angel, you don't have a star.
When God reads the Great-Book-of-the-Universe,
He stumbles on the number assigned to your life, without wanting to.
Your life is a mistake in the eternal sketch.
To your life wasn't allotted a realm that is yours.
The angels drink the forget-all wine, when they come down from heaven.
If they don't drink it, the world's mystery shall open for you.

These sorts of blunders occur on this planet.
They cause havoc in eternity' much intelligent plan.
You find men with psychic minds in this world.
They know the man's viewpoint.
You should know that these men never want to listen.
And in myths, men with an occult mind-set have a name.
They are called wizards. Their mind sweats glitzy thoughts.
But men don't take notice, or listen to them.

Despite the fact that they are rare and few,
Men don't want to see them. Their life is a combat.
When they die, they leave without being mourned.
At cradle, they didn't have a kind guardian angel.
And their eyes are in tears, because of pain.
Despite that the gentle angels don't shine their rays on these souls.
They are still wonderful and noble.

God substitutes for every wizard's father in this world
And He bestows on their head His rich aid.
But there is a pale angel with long and black wings,
Those flamboyant eccentrics forever captivate him.
It is a pity that his captivation extinguishes morals.
And when he loses interest, he kills anyone who'd listened to him.
He quickly sends seducing pleasures.
And if you listen to his song, your talent is ruined.
Since all that is fleeting, has its fortune in his hand.
His name is death. And he is handsome that no one is like him.

So, you shall not listen to his awesome song.
Since the one that listen to him are lost forever.
Every century he has a new follower.
And he, who loves him, is in his camp forever.
I'm the chief seraph. You listen to my right speech.
God sends me, because He loves you very much.
I want to deliver you out of this huge emptiness.
So I put this broad idea in your consciousness.

People don't live in the realm of the other side of the grave.
You should have not one regret for that.
The realm of the soul is mainly man's thought.
The soul's space represents the thought itself.
Instead of wheat, you'll sow in heaven the sum of your thoughts.
And then it shall be realized. It shall last forever.

Because in the outer world you don't have an inheritance,
God had blessed you with boundless ideas.
In these infinite realms, where like stars,
Thoughts slowly bloom, mix in heaps and shrink,
Build up brilliant domes, making palaces of thoughts,
Unfold in secret and collapse, as you breathe.
Or at your will, they move about like prayer beads.
And they sound vibrant tunes, and become quiet.
This perpetuity of thought was blessed on you.
It is a world within a world, and it shall last forever.

When your mind shall figure out your worldly existence,
When shattered by time, your body shall disintegrate,
You shall change into a spirit.
And you'll last in a vast and bright site.
How God embraces with His heavenly existence
The worlds, the stars, the time, the unseen atom, and the space,
How everything is He, and He is in everything,
You shall be great in the same way as is your far-reaching thought.

If you want to have knowledge of this wonderful life
Then, dwell on dreams and on sleep.
One's body is cold without feelings at night, like he's dead.
The soul is supreme over rich worlds.
It wanders in an ocean of stars, through suns,
Through vast emptiness, through the deep…
It spreads its thoughts during sleep.
Even if these solar realms are not real,
Your soul sees them, hears them, has and it feels them.

When someone dies — clay without a breath —
One's soul stays outside deaf and blind. It weeps.
It's like a song without a harp. It's like a ray without a sun.
It's like a murmur without waters. It's like a soul without a person.
But inside the soul is a large expanded world.
Everything is real for it.
How droplets that absorb in an expansive particle,
All the rays in the world are in it.
It is in everything that it has thought about."

The seraph concludes his vibrant chat.
The emperor's son thought is also quiet.
The moon rises out of the clouds, yellowy like broken ice,
And it goes across clearly, on an overcast sky.
And the sky gathers clouds, huge clouds of vengeance.
And it aims to lash it on the wild world.
And, the night adds hours on its clear string,
Like the river that sends its past into the future.

II

Giants split off the clouds,
On the mountains that sturdily rise out of the forests,
With granite rocky-feet, with thunderstruck crests…
The eagles built huge nests in the heart of mountains.
And they sits in the sun, and stare at it in amazement.
There, amongst ruins surrounded by mountainous rocks,
It is the dark cave of the lone wizard.
Oak trees are knocked down over awful streams.
Old slabs are covered with moss.
The beech trees swing slowly.

Its stormy and relentless harp roars.
The wind blows, and it shakes the fir-tree forest.
It knocks big stones from the barren summit.
And it hurls chunks with grass and with trees,
Which disintegrate in a thud of a river-fall.

The storm fastens at its cart many long lightning-bolts. It drives it.
The wind roars with its copper harp,
And it blasts with its intense thunder.
The eagle is in mourning, and it calls its chicks.
Stars fall through the clouds and vanish into the deep chasm.

And hailstones as big as pomegranates,
Splinter on the hard side of rocks.
One fails to distinguish the golden zodiacal constellations on the skies.
And at water streams the devils gather beasts.
The winter howls. And it settles in, bringing frosty weather.

The wizard dwells on the top of this mountain
— Which has a desolate crest,
And is above the world, and above the clouds.
He stares at the ongoing tempest.
The sun with its fine rays is above him, moving to the west.
Below him is winter with rain, with snow and cold.

He stares at the skies, and he opens his book.
And he finds a key to the stars in their long procession.
It is a book that no one ever reads.
It has crooked signs, upside down, like Moorish writing.
The laws of this universe are in signs.

He looks with his sad eyes at the planet.
His white beard is messed by the blizzard.
The wind howls. And with its ruffled extremities
It draws together and wipe out a mass of clouds,
That thunder and speed up in the forest.

For the duration of the long, miserable and rough night,
The king's son walks across without fear.
Through clouds that perturb, clouds that clash and split,
A tiny star glows on the mountain summit
With rays that cut through the total darkness.

It's hard to get to it, because foamy streams flow at his feet.
And lots of crashed boulders are placed in his way.
But no one can stop him.
He goes across streams, with his sure feet.
He makes his way to a tiny and clear dot.

The crushed oak trees are footbridges over water streams.
Flares of lightning show him the way.
In spite of the fact that the sky had lost control of the gales,
All clouds rush on the mountain ranges.
He goes across to the star that glows.

All of a sudden, he sees the clouds split in two,
Letting him move across.
Having arrived at the highest point,
He sees below him a clique of winds chase through the clouds' blanket,
And break one of their wings on rocks, and storm out on the valley.

Below him, the dark and turbulent gales,
Blow everywhere, like mad, with lightning horses.
And they propel winds on top of the clouds.
They cause hailstone. The gales unseat rocks
And astound people. And they also stir a blizzard.

A warm sun in motion shines above him,
On the sky's blue and clear field.
The strong wizard thinks and he sits
On the mountain-eaves crashed by stones;
He sits on a meteorite rock.
He has a book in his hand.

"Father, says the emperor's son, and he bows to him.
My old father had sent me here, at the outskirts of forests."
"Ah, you're here? " The old man answered. He sighs.
He has a sincere smile on his face.
And he closes his old book with one hand.

I saw in my book, that his old life could end soon.
And fretful by this guess, I didn't think about anyone else.
A strange pain has entered my soul with wings of light.
And then, sooner than I could think of,
The loud storm, had menaced this place…

From thousands of storms
Which, are in motion soaring over the Earth,
There are few storms that rage at length.
And because of that, I keep these storms confined under old stones,
In a secure room, locked inside the mountain's bowels.

And while I felt sad for your father,
I observed that one of the storms had escaped.
And it has shattered few stars with its wing,
Throwing it down on clouds, and on rebel winds,
And it had also brushed against my old forests.

My son, wait so I can look in my spells' book.
So I can invoke this massive storm.
To put a thousand helpers on its wings,
And bind it on rocks at the bottom of the planet,
And I lock up the dark confinement.

He whispers: "great wind, capture the storm
Bind its wings, and put it in crevices.
There, tie its arms with chains.
And slowly clear the clouds from the sky.
And roll them on the deep valleys. "

"Son, now there isn't any danger.
Follow me in the great halls inside the mountain.
And there you shall tell me news about your father.
We were friends like Pylades and Orestes, when we were younger.
He dies. And I'll be left alone on this world again.

He sent you while you are still young, before he passed away.
So I shall give to you my elderly guidance.
And for sure he acted well in this way.
Perils wait for you. And without my assistance,
You wouldn't have been able to leave.

If you would've been like anyone else,
Then, I could change your fate into a lucky one.
But your sign doesn't exist in my entire book.
And I keep the stars of all destinies.
But you don't have a chosen star on the entire sky.

I can't do anything for you, because of that.
I can't change what was preordained for you.
I can only change what is there…
I can't see what is not there in the cloudless stars.
These aren't signs in the corona of stars, which God has planned.

But I can show you the way to perdition,
So you won't fall into it. Don't be lured by an angel
With pale features and green eyes — by death —
Which brings woe and agony to the world.
And which is very much intent to get you, " he says.

And he has to climb down to a huge gate,
Which, leads to a secret spot.
He opens a giant door into a tunnel of knocked down rocks.
And they both enter at leisure
Inside the wide and long marble hall, of a soft black colour;

Gold painted columns are inbuilt in the walls.
On the floor there are carpets woven in natural flowery motifs.
And stars spread sweet rays in night-lights.
And the rays are reddish-pink, warm and sweet,
Like is the air on a summer night.

They walk at a slow pace throughout the large hall.
And they walk beneath the arches dug in granite.
They go straight into the other room full of perfume.
The marble on the walls shines with an ebonite glaze,
Like black mirrors of polished cast iron.

The old man shuts the door behind him.
A dark night hides them from sight.
He slowly lights up a blue candle on the long table.
It softly sends out into the dark,
Sweet coloured violet rays and a violet-blue strip of light.

The emperor sits down on a red silk throne.
He sets his eye on the marble wall.
The older man drops in the next chair.
Flowers exude a fresh bouquet scent —
Like the perfume of the wild grass in the green forest;

And blue rays chase through the room.
The elderly man stands up.
And he gently raises in the air his wand full of power.
And gradually, a silvery apparition pops up
On a large-and-wide black mirror;

She is very pale in the face, like a pearl.
On her white shoulders she has two open wings.
And her waist ribbon shines like silver.
She holds the cup of dreams in her small hand.
On her head are red poppy flowers.

Two long eyebrows shelter her gaze. Her blond, long curls
Drop like shoots of golden wheat. The old man takes
In his hand a goblet with verses in the Moorish script.
He pours wine in a goblet.
The wine is red like the blood of a bull.
And he offers it to the young emperor.

Seeing the white apparition on the black wall,
The emperor fell off the throne on his knees.
The apparition laughs in her sleep.
And her long and golden blond plates drop abundantly
On her smooth shoulders, on her white neck…

"This is the sleep, " the old man tells him close to his ear.
"Don't say a word. Because if you aren't calm
She fades away like a dream.
She hardly gives in to my magic charm.
I let stars to signal it. So I can catch her on a black bed-sheet."

"Your Majesty should do as I say."
He takes a cup with a golden brim,
And he pours in it a crystal-clear wine.
On the cup's exterior, were written mysterious spells
With Moorish symbols…
The wine is like a bull's blood, and yet is clear like ruby.

"Have a drink, Your Majesty", he says.
"The sleep comes down from walls,
And with her sweet smile she kisses your eyes.
Then, Your Majesty shall grab her quickly by the neck.
She shall lift her wings. And she shall fly.
She shall take Your Majesty with her into the dreamland".

And the young Emperor drinks and he falls asleep.
He feels warmth. And he feels soft lips on his eyes.
He stretches his arms.
He hugs tightly the apparition's cute and smooth shoulders.
And he feels her stretched wings, which move up and down.

He rests his head on the apparition's shoulder
And he hears her warm heartbeat.
And he feels being carried to a pure world.
He hears shiny stars linking in holy choirs
And how the silver wings sound.

He opens his eye. And he sees above him
Two large blue eyes, absorbed and dreamy.
He almost has no faith in his destiny.
He presses his mouth on her blond hair plaits.
And with a warm wish he touches her pale face.

He holds the angel close, with his tight arm,
Under the influence of the dream's long lure;
The apparition smiles, and she caresses him with her wing.
And with a sweet desire she lowers her mouth,
And she presses on his mouth her keen kiss.

'You see, " says the apparition on the chasm's valley,
"There is the Earth, with its smouldering peaks,
With seas that sleep, which swish with blues.
It has people. It has lands with cities. Everything sleeps.
And the vast sea of stars is above you.

The Earth is so far away that it shrinks to a dot.
Since planets turn into dots when they are far.
Earth's blurred look, fades away.
The clean and solid land of the globe recedes.
It orbits fast. It lives the time of the planets.

A planet is a vast and large empire.
It has hundreds of nations, and billions of people.
Big cities swell under the sun.
Silver palaces rise in such a scene.
And the kings are angels with silver wings.

The free soul raises her saintly stare
Towards the vast stellar plain;
It is new, beloved and magnificent homeland.
It is full of songs not heard on Earth for centuries.
Here the very old world carries on with its life.

You see how this planet turns its mountain peaks around.
And the sea sticks forever to its choice.
The year's time limit, it is destined by a sun.
For one globe it's shorter. It's longer for another world.
Since the suns set down the time in this deep space.

Soon we will get there at the clear planet,
The one that on the entire skies I call it mine.
It is full of dreams, full of song, full of atmosphere.
We shall set foot soon on its levelled plain.
And the Earth is left behind. It's just a sphere.

III

The wizard, who was left in the mountain, comes out.
He sits on a crashed stone on top of the valleys.
His eye zooms in. His thirsty head, and his deep eyes,
Are touched by the warm wind that blows through the forest.

He climbs on the peak of the mountain.
A star touches down. It is spacecraft, a golden eagle with wings of fire.
And piloting at its cockpit, he flies into deep space.
The stars spark in a sacred way, and make way for him on his trek.

And angels dispersed in space, carry on laps
The people's intense and gentle prayers;
And stretching in the wind their royal wings,
They take and hand them over to people's doors.

Angels greet the tough wizard on his way.
He flies past, carried by the craft that flies like a brain wave.
When he arrives on the void's valley, he's pious and dignified.
He let the spacecraft go. And he jumps into the endless chasm.

He sees stars above and stars below.
He flies non-stop like a wounded thunder.
The stars' fields vanish above him, on the right and left.
He goes down, like a star thrown into chaos.

Since at the edge of the chasm on a blue dot
He aims his look at a gentle and fragile globe.
On a corridor of a thousand days long, he falls in an instant.
He flies like the brain wave, which propels him into the future.

He comes slowly closer to the faraway world.
He has yet one more day, and he will arrive at its Moon.
After his long flight, he catches his breath there.
He glances from one of the Moon's mountain.

He looks at the globe with his eyes full of tears.
It shines blue and it follows its orbit.
"How serene it is. How calmly it revolves.
Oh, how I love the planet where I was born.

In the whole Universe it is only one planet,
That overflows with peace like this; forever it's not in conflict.
In the whole creation it's forever free of wars and hate.
It isn't ravaged by fears or by want.

There is a man on this planet. He lives unhappily.
However, the grief is in him not in the planet.
But I shall reverse his fate from bad luck into good fortune.
Now I shall go down to my planet. I shall pat him on his shoulder.

He jumps into space from the Moon's peak.
He reaches his home planet's clouds without delay.
He stares at it with love and with an intent look.
He splits the clouds' veil into long strips.

He flattens the strips, knits them.
And he makes a rope ladder.
He throws it into the long horizon. It floats in the wind, like a feather.
After that, the old man climbs down the ladder
On an unsettled sea, that moves thousands of waves.

He takes a slice from the densest cloud.
And he builds a boat from it.
And he steers the boat on waves.
The sea blue waves pound with bubbles.
Songs from shores carry him all the way through,
In a pleasant and round swing;

And silver swans stretch their wings in a row,
On rich islands with large laurel gardens;
They get there by splitting the water for his golden oars.
And they start to tug the boat warbling.

The old man thinks, while wrapped in his white mantle.
And white swans tug his ample boat.
The waves' songs greet him at his arrival.
On his head is a wreath, made from a beech tree shoots.

One could mistake him for the God-of-the-Sea.
Swans mimic him in his sweet dream
While, sailing with much speed under the dim moonlight.
And they sing thousandfold, with joy, in his honour.

The boat, which is a golden dream,
Breaks the sea's blue water sheath.
And now it proceeds to the shore.
A shore of stones rises ahead.
Broken, rebellious rocks,
Stand with their feet into the foamy wave that pounds.

Flanked by old rocks and mountain passes,
There is a shrine in ruin, wrecked by the water.
It tilts its walls and pillars to a half.
And it is about to cave in, crushed by the weather.

A young and handsome poor monk lives in the walls' niches.
He is thin like a shadow.
He has built a trail from collapsed rocks, from slabs and chunks
To the rear of the Egyptian style temple;

There he lives distraught by hunches and by dreams.
He doesn't know what he wants. In vain he torments himself.
He sleeps on a bed of rugs placed on two wood boards.
He doesn't drink spring water.
He drinks just the vile water of the sea.

So, he wants to end his life, to shorten it.
He doesn't know why he does this, and for whom.
He sits with a harp with broken strings in his hand.
And he torments himself with strict prayers.

He buzzes a sad song, which has meaning,
On a rusty copper harp;
Stirred by his hand, the dull strings vibrate sadly.
He invokes with his song a ghost that he dreamed of, last night.

And now he sits on a large stone in the moonlight.
And his tune reaches with much sadness into the night.
It seemed that he waits to see his beloved apparition in the air.
So, his eye was watchful, and it had a sad stare.

The wizard steps on shore on a dry rock.
He let the boat loose to the waves swiftness.
After that he climbs up on a boulder.
He examines with his eye the ascetic monk.
The wizard stands up like the sky's life force.

The monk sees him and he drops the harp off his hand.
With his lips he offers a smile. He is sober, tired, and too modest.
He leaves his stone slowly. He comes to the wizard.
And mumbling, he asks the wizard while he catches the wizard's hand.

"Father, what have you done so far? You came to visit me again?
Do you think that you could soothe me? In no way!
How at my voice, the rocks remain deaf and cold,
Deaf is my soul forever to your kind words.

Oh, come there to the niches, to show you the window
Through which the kind ghost appeared last night.
Through pillars that crumble … through broken arches… I don't know…
This one… She got here on a golden stairway, close to this spot."

"You've left because of that? " then the wizard said.
"So you can live in austerity. So you can think about God?
So you can drink the unpleasant water of the sea in a dark cavern?
So, the bad spirit can hide you in you the temptation? "

"You say that she is a black lure, bad spirit? Oh, she's not! "
The odd monk answered with calm and anguish.
"If heaven itself will come to tell me this. If she would tell me…
I still won't believe it.

I shall much quicker say that she wants to con me.
That she wants to test my deep love, in a fatal way.
If I could only tell you, how she shows herself to me.
You won't believe any more that she is a ghost out of hell.

When the pale moon, rises like an age-old dream
On the blue sea, on sleepy clouds, and on the sky…
When the night is a queen— lunatic and astray…
When waves pound the shores with a cooling fizz…

I take in my hand the copper harp from the black pillar.
The harp that gives off, an intricate and lively tone…
The harp, which plays the sorrows of the sands…
The sorrows of the bare stones, and of the powerful waves…

And I play it. One broken piece of a ray comes from the waves.
And the stones on the shore appear to me that they sigh.
A gentle and dim ray roves through the clouds.
It is white like snow. This ray is like a silhouette.

And this ray loves me. It caresses my head with its sacred light.
A music of dreams answers to my cry from the air and from the sea.
There is a song in the mid-air, in the shining field.
It is born from the sky, and from the depth of the wild-sea.

The ray, which has a shape, draws back from above my head.
It gets skin and form. It's a clear female silhouette.
She's an angel with white wings — as white as marble.
And she comes down pale, on the air corridor of her ray.

And she comes down slowly on the way of her ray.
I call for her in my prayer, and she comes down lazily.
And white clothes cover her. She has a blue flower in her hair.
And on her head she has a blazing star.

I sit speechless and pale…
My hand moves shaking on the steel strings, without control.
To no avail I ask for answers from my confused mind.
What is my soul looking for at that divine split second?

That pale shadow… Whose shadow could it be?
She comes to my song, when I invoke her with a prayer.
When provoked by my harp a thousand waves answer to me.
On many nights I decipher the signs of the hot stars.

I play my rough and vibrant harp, from the heart.
I placed in it part of my soul.
It is the purest and holiest, best part.
It left the rotten wood on a white night.
And it flew slowly to God on a rickety ray.

When the night is warm, slow, and lonely,
Then I call her out of the sea.
Then I call her out of the moon, or from a part of my beloved heart.
And like a sun's ray, she comes into the night.
She comes in a dream, looking white in my mad head.
Until she turns into the shape that I always dreamed about.

She is not some mad and vain ghost.
She is an actual being, with thought from my thought.
I've given her shape from many rays.
And my soul calls her; my thought cuddles her;
And my spirit is also her spirit.

Everything I thought younger, everything I sang more with ease,
All there was in my song, which was extra, young, and untainted,
It had merged in a high volume of sterile air,
With the rays of the moon, which is about to nap in the clouds.
And a pretty and young angel has taken shape.

The old man speaks softly: "You are either mad or foolish!
"It is a thirst for love. It's a dream of a young man.
Your angel is a ray. Her body is a cloud.
At your song an echo answers crying.
And you cram the sea with sketched souls.
And dreaming, you fill the stars with songs.

Take one by one, the faded icons.
Take one by one: a sea-wave, a fiery star.
And all of them are nothing, when all of them put together
Can only stir in, you songs or your dreams.
Your mind, it can be unbalanced by the rays' gentle bother
That mixes in the air and it separates in the clouds.
And all are thrown back in foamy, noisy waves.

"And if it's so, why should I care? Perhaps the feeble madness,
Possibly awaken, and it has placed its cruel eye
On my shrunken brow, on my lost mind;
And it has marked deep and horrendous long circles of lead,
Around my eyes, making them look-like those of a ghost.
And anyway, the madness… So be it. I don't pronounce myself…

Like it is with the sweet apparition that captivated my mind,
I like it the same way I like a figment of my imagination.
I like it the same way I like any white apparition.
One thinks. The reflection with cool rays comes in.
It hits the gentle body soiled by a dream.
And this face becomes pallid like a phantom.
And as soon as one watches, it becomes the same
The place it comes from has clouds and waves.

But I… am not like that… I like a flight of the imagination,
Be it a fairy-tale. Just that I want it to be about a nice angel
That has a bright face, and big blue eyes…
And I forgive her that she vanishes when I lit the candle.
Since I don't light it…on the contrary…
Like one who likes a dream, even when awaken by shivers,
He keeps his eye closed so he can continue to dream the nice dream.
In the same way, it would seem that I forget the world.
And I'm happy if I can prolong slightly my joyful dream.
Only if she wouldn't flee, the alien…
Oh, if she could stay with me all the time.
So I could try to enjoy her.

To caress her senses with my happy noises,
And to lose my being in her big and soft eyes …
If only she wouldn't run…but she runs…
She runs like the full moon tries to tilt its heavy head behind the forest.
And then she runs again. And she leaves through the air on a ray.
And she gets lost in the ruins of the smashed castle…
It is my dull soul. It is my soul getting lost.
It leaves this world, being allured by heaven.
……………………………………………………………………………
Oh, if I could die soon…with my body heavy as lead.
To feel I yield slowly to the tough death.
And my soul, a part that remained in my body
Should fly where love waits for it in ecstasy.
To fly where it is youthful, pale and sweet.
And to drift through the stars… and through the stars' pillars,
Both an essence of white rays… Because together we could glide
Through lunatic clouds, through the stars that collide
And we will long for each other, like a ray longs for a new ray.
One in the arms of the other makes the light lovely.
But it cannot be done yet, because my body is made of clay.
A heavy and cold slave — it's a slave but it's astute.

It holds me in its chest that is in poor health … yet it has a strong arm.
When my free soul wants to plunge into the sea,
And escape from my body quickly,
I am much afraid of myself at these moments.
Oh, if death existed without me dying,
I would embrace it and squeeze it with longing."

The wizard thinks deeply. And in his head
Unfolds the fate of man in front of him.
In the past he lived in this world humble and poor.
But his strong thought had oppressed his life.

This sad and pale head wants to carry the crown.
Even today one can see a dark cap of a monk.
These shoulders wanted to carry the world's fate.
And now these are covered with simple and coarse cloth.
And this head that had decreed death, while he sat on the throne,
Now it sleeps on a sack for a pillow, on rags for a bed.
Hurt by his sandals, his feet long for marble floors,
And for the throne's carpet.
He walks barefoot on alleyways. His mind is full of dreams.
And he sank in his long deprivations, like in a sea.
He dreams that the whole mankind will come to him.
That he would be crowned by the entire world.
That he allots crowns to kings. And he kneels to queens. And he loves them.
And to the women who devote their life to pleasures,
Whose bodies white as snow, and who bath in their dark long hair,
He builds extraordinary and beautiful palaces.

But the tune has changed…of nausea and disgust,
It seemed to him the world is but a play of cards in which he doesn't trust.
At that moment he retreated inside monastic walls.
And he immersed his head in the world's holy book.
A small votive light lights his dark cave, with dissipated walls.
His wandering thought with great wings, goes across the whole space,
And through some place, which is unknown to the outside world.

In vain he places heavy cuffs on his heart,
Since it has lengthy thoughts with lofty pleas.
In vain he had closed the world's door behind him.
In his gloomy dreams, he throws ashes over his thought's fire,
With his great self-centeredness;
But hot coals smoulder yet beneath the ashes.
His dreams of opulence will be wiped out,
Only when he shall pour much soil on the grey ashes;

Then he escapes to a life of seclusion on barren seashores.
He retreats to his peace, which had left him with an illusion.
But woe! Even there, his unforgiving dream had followed him.
Since his thought process, with its dream, it was enslaved by the world.
Here his dream is a hidden killer.
Since it shows high in the air in the shape of a woman.
Worldly thoughts, twist his heart in a unique way.
He thinks about everything and not about God.

On his soul's cold and eclipsed secretive hours of darkness,
Showers of rays plummet on a clear and lily-white sky.
And his soul is engulfed in a clear vision.
An aurora fills it with its rose-white shade.
And it turns into a pale angel stained with love's tears.
A gentle star slowly crumbles and plummets from the sky.
And he hears a sweet hoary voice in his chest
It sounds like a bell, which is adrift into the night.

The wizard changes his mind about the monk's destiny.
"That being is real. Your dreams do not lie to you.
But it is not here in this world…it is a dead woman's spirit.
And whom I myself can bring to life.
I can mould her in the clay's shape that will carry her.
And I can embody into clay a lofty ideal.
But it can't be here. She won't enjoy life here.
We will go into a world that continues to exist."
\ (1872)

Translated by

by Peter Mamara

Comments (6)

i plan to put this into my/our MARCH 2018 'showcase', found in my list of PH poems. i give full credit (but no money!) to poets whose poems i use. if you object to my using yours or 'need' money, i'll remove the poem from the showcase after hearing from you in a message. Thanks. bri :)
favorite lines: Be honestly devious Mischievous and raw and Be honestly devious Mischievous and raw........................you, David, are a poetic gem, though an OLD one! bri ;)
in the last comment i left, i should have said submit to my/our showcase (mostly) containing poems by PH poets, my Feb.2018 edition, found in my list of PH poems. let me know if this is NOT to your liking. ;) here is the link to the showcase for Feb.: www.poemhunter.com/poem/february-2018-showcase-for-and-often-by-p-h-members-poems-collected-from-willing-and-sometimes-un-willing-poets-for-your-reading-enjoyment/ (to be continued) .....
the poem is very entertaining. i 'love' humor/humour. to MyPoemList. and i think i'll eventually submit the poem you've inspired..........to PH. thanks for poem (yours) and Poet's Notes. but, dagnabbit! , i didn't find any typos. there must be SOME! i won't look again. bri ;)
David Whalen's New Diet: 2018 Your proposed 2018....eating habits, NOT at all like those of Br'er Rabbit's, may cause you to bloat up to HUGE! Never again will you fit in your luge! ! ! (to be continued {the comment}) .............
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