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Immortality: An Elegy
I would be sad to think of such terrible thoughts!
O! The heavens would crumble upon me!
Immortality, to think about her,
That thin veil, that silken veil of pure white light enshrouding nature,
Taking it all upon her bosom,
Nurturing, everlasting, ever-scattered over the ground,
So willfully a thing of always,
Ever-present in the gentle beams of sunlight that drop ever so gracefully through the forests,
That green light that effuses such passionate being,
Dancing downwards, swirling onto some untroubled pool where swans, those messengers of beauty,
Spread their whitened wings to welcome the traveler.
Ah! There resides immortality everlasting,
Immortality so eternal within the womb of the earth
And so painfully distant to man,
Man the angelic, the wingless, scraping the dirt,
Alone in these streets of desolation, solitude his mark,
He bears the lonely gaze of a winter morning, a lean shadow lost in the remnants of a city.
O! He bears the portent of a drowned star pushed, hurled into the freezing waters of the night, to wait.
O! But never to be revitalized! Enlightened once more!
O! To be abandoned to roam in that dismal darkness!
Separate from all light,
Blind from all speck of sunshine, from the fires of ecstasy,
With hands, trying to understand the shapes of beauty,
Aching not to drown in such a terrible sea!
O! To think of immortality is to think of death,
And with her think of life and time and space,
Such awful thoughts it brings to man,
And such little hours left to answer such questions!
I would for that sunken eternity
That sleeps ever so quietly under the tender boughs of light-speckled woods,
There I would sit, upright against such bodies of ages
And watch carelessly, my gaze lost in such tranquility!
O! I wish to be lost within the sighs of infant flowers,
Cradling by the cool shade of trees,
Calling and praising all the beloved creatures of the sky,
Softly chanting, silently, to the ripple of Spring!
Ah! Such comfort I’d find there
That Mortality would become but like a subtle breeze that blows gently among us
And vanishes, leaving nothing but its whisper on our ears,
A song of forgotten piety that resides forever in us,
And thus we’d go on looking,
Gazing into the gardens of such magnificent Eternity!
But, O, we are naught,
We are but that poor star drowned in the oceans,
Engaged in a desperate motion for salvation,
A plead of mortality to the reigning obscurity of the skies,
And all it finds is that silence,
That void of howling winds and breakers crushing themselves into the rocky shores of the earth,
That silence that slashes like a cold knife to the heart;
And thus, deep, enthralled by an illusion of life, it struggles,
In the abyss we struggle for a response,
An expectance of immortality, of a never-to-come that haunts us upon every step taken,
That breathes onto us with the sudden coil of every word spoken,
And we hear nothing beneath those thunders,
O! The roaring thunders of the untamable depths,
Ready to crush our very want of life,
Ready to penetrate within us and leave us empty and unfilled, vacant of all hope!
These echoes, these voices of distance have called upon us,
And then deserted us to ourselves and the rage of nature,
The arms of a terrible world inhabitable,
Condemned to gaze upon the flight of birds, angels engaged in such gracious movements,
And we stretch our arms to feel them,
Even if we drown during this venture, to feel their freedom and hope to be filled by it,
That the air cradling beneath their wings, majestic,
May blow upon us gently and drive us back and safe to the land.
And we keep swimming,
Our arms sore and our legs numb,
Overwhelmed by such force we swim, directed towards nowhere,
Thrown athwart by the cruel winds and waves that crash,
That sea that collides and hurtles ever so painfully, pouring all of its terrible strength onto our bodies,
And we feel weary of that struggle, of that fight against the tides,
We feel tired of resistance,
But mostly defeated and trampled,
Trodden by the silence of the heavens on which we look upon waiting for revelation,
O! A revelation that will never come!
A salvation impossible,
A wasted immortality, a wreck thrown in the shores of the night,
The forsaken pieces of broken machinery,
A worn and tattered celestial being that will never work again,
Spoiled by our blindness,
Fueled by our indifference and destroyed by our ignorance!
We drove our hands away; we covered our eyes with them,
Detained ourselves of that command and said:
“Lord, lead this holy vessel into your kingdom!”
O! We thought too much of Immortality, we revered it,
And all we found was the colossal might, the anger of the stormy, swallowing seas,
A timid rose resting silently upon our graves.
Splintered abandonment! Forced into an existential isolation!
And upon such mirage of devastation,
Upon such horrible wreckage of the sacred spirit,
(Its futile ruins scattered on the squander of windy beaches)
We saw that little star, that beacon of solitude, stranded through the gale and the tides,
And we saw ourselves reflected upon its fatal mirror,
Mortal and frail, alone and hurled, dropped unexpectedly,
Unnamed and shapeless,
Destined to swim by ourselves upon such terrible wastes,
Destined to wrestle for a greater existence, or to die in the vacant hope for Immortality,
That deceiving faraway dream, that illusion of Eternity everlasting!