May 12, 2013

Friedrich Hölderlin - Vulcan


Source: Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin. Translated by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover. 2008. Omnidawn Publishing: Richmond, California. Pg. 167.

Come now, friendly spirit of fire,
    And veil the tender minds of women in clouds,
         In golden dreams, and keep safe
              The blossoming calm of the always good.

Let man be content with his thoughts, and his work,
     And his shining candles, and the future day.
         Let him be free of annoyances
               And too many hateful worries,

When now the ever-raging Boreas,
    My old rival, strikes the land with frost
        Overnight, and late, past the hour of sleep,
            Mocking at men, sings his frightening war-song,

And tears down our city walls and the fences
     We built with effort and the quiet grove,
           And even disturbs my soul in the middle
                Of its song, the destroyer of all,

And restlessly he roars over the gentle stream
    And throws down his black clouds, until, far and wide,
        They shred the valley to pieces, and, like falling leaves,
            Rocks fall from the fractured hills.

Man is more pious than all other living
    Things; yet, angry with the world outside,
        He becomes more himself, free-born,
             And, safe in his cottage, rests and wonders.

And there's always at least one friendly spirit
    Who gladly blesses him, and even when
         The fierce, uneducated spirit-powers
              Are angry, love still loves.