Bread and Wine, Part 7

by Friedrich Holderlin

English version by Robert Bly
Original Language German

Oh friend, we arrived too late. The divine energies
     Are still alive, but isolated above us, in the archetypal world.
They keep on going there, and, apparently, don't bother if
     Humans live or not... that is a heavenly mercy.
Sometimes a human's clay is not strong enough to take the water;
     Human beings can carry the divine only sometimes.
What is living now? Night dreams of them. But craziness
     Helps, so does sleep. Grief and Night toughens us,
Until people capable of sacrifice once more rock
     In the iron cradle, desire people, as the ancients, strong enough for water.
In thunderstorms it will arrive. I have the feeling often, meanwhile,
     It is better to sleep, since the Guest comes seldom;
We waste our life waiting, and I haven't the faintest idea
     How to act or talk... in the lean years who needs pots?
But poets as you say are like the holy disciple of the Wild One
     Who used to stroll over the fields through the whole divine night.

-- from The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures, Edited by Robert Bly

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Bread and Wine