Do not expect the final answer,
It is not given in this life.
But the ear of the poet clearly catches
The distant thunder on his road.
He has bent his head attentively,
Eagerly, he takes it in, fine-strung, he waits,
And already he can hear it:
It flowers, it basks in bliss, it grows….
And nearer yet, the premonition stronger,
But, Ah! The expectation is unbearable…
And the seer falls, struck dumb,
Hearing the thunder close upon the road.
The night, the street, the lamp, the drugstore.
Light without sense. Night without shape.
Go on for twenty years, or more—
There is no change. And no escape.
You die— and then relive it all,
The same restart, the same repeat:
The night, the ice on the canal,
The drugstore, the lamp, the street.
When I was passing along the road in the twilight
I saw a red glow in the window
A rosy girl stood on the threshold
And told me that I was tall and handsome.
That is all my tale, good people,
Nothing more do I ask of you.
I never dreamt of a miracle,
So you calm down and forget about it too.
Life is without beginning, without end.
And each of us is subject to blind chance.
Above us lowers the everlasting dark,
Or else the radiance of the face of God.
But you, the artist, steadfastly believe
In ends and in beginnings. You must know,
Where Heaven watches over us—where Hell.
With a fair judgment is it given you
To measure all things that you here may see.
And let your eye be single, firm and clear.
Eliminate the aimless strokes of chance,
And you will see: the world is beautiful.
Learn where to look for light, and you will learn
Where darkness is. And let all holy things
And all things sinful filter slowly through
The fever of the heart, the cold of mind.