Monday, March 15

The Skeleton (1924)

There on the plain, on the way-side, an animal's skeleton
` is lying on the grass,
the same grass that had once given it strength
` and gentle rest.
They lie, bleached bones in a heap,
` time's loud dry laughter,
like death pointing its finger, insinuating:
` Where the beast ends
` there you end as well; there's no distinction
` in your case too, when life's wine's been drained,
the broken cup will be left like that in the dust.
I said: Death, I don't believe what you say
` mockingly of emptiness
My life's not the sort that becomes a total pauper
` at its journey's end,
` that at the end of the day
pays with hollow bones its last bill of board and bed.
All that I've thought and known, spoken, heard with my ears,
` all that has burst from me in sudden songs
` were not contained in a life hemmed by death.
` What I've received and what I've given back--
` on this earth of mortals where can that be measured?

Many a time has my mind's dance transcended
life and death, and gone where beauty lives
` eternally. Can it then stop for ever
` at the boundary of bones?
` My true identity
` cannot be measured by flesh.
The hours and minutes don't wear it out by their kicks,
` nor does the wayside dust pauperise it.
For in the lotus of manifest form I've drunk the honey of the formless,
in the bosom of suffering found in the dwelling of joy,
` heard within me the voice of eternal silence,
seen the way of the stars through the dark empty spaces.
` No, I'm not a big joke of the Creator,
not a grand holocaust built with infinite riches.

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