Fairy-tale or truth, it's all the same.
Long ago into the world it came,
Ever since adults dreamed of life's dawning,
Ever since the first bright star of morning
Set alight the windows of mankind.
Instantly in child eyes you could find
Glimmering of human comprehension.
Look, I face the future, forge ahead,
And it soon becomes a past dimension.
Here am I, I make my own life's thread.
Who am I? Distaff, thread or spinner,
I appoint the road by which is led
Every living man, be he sage or sinner.
You yourself no effort ever spared,
Light's velocity you boldly squared,
Multiplied by mass, you then went tracing
Cosmogonic views that long lay wasting.
On the planets' surfaces you saw
Cities which had vanished long before,
In the tiny micro-world you studied
Rapid particles, vibrating waves.
Here am I, your helmsman and your rudder,
Straight at you I steer my bark unsafe!
I adore a merry dislocation,
Revel when your teeming reason craves
Lightning formulas and speculation!
Well, despite that I am your old friend,
Will you not to Time a hand extend?
Or have you become so very headstrong
That you gash your knees from tumbling headlong
And forget the gesture you once threw
In the face of gods who punished you?
In reply an open challenge give them!
Let your art be simpler and more clear,
Merrier and tauter be the rhythm,
Then be off again! Go on from here
To the limits of imagination,
To the point at which you disappear!
(In our next life - the continuation).
PAVEL ANTOKOLSKY (1896-1978).
Translated by Peter Tempest.