When the god of wine and revel
made dizzy the city's prince,
the omens darkly muttered
like some strange malevolence.
But the king kept to his folly;
he was slain by the godly bull,
and carried home in his mother's arms.
Amen: the gods are cruel.
You are proud in your ways, O mortals.
Better it would be to mourn,
for you are marched through Theban streets
to where the calves are torn.
You are vain with the vain cosmetics
with which you adorn your soul;
and as you boast of your civic order,
your destruction is your goal.
You speak the name of Justice?
Justice walks with a sword
to slit the throats of mortals,
a fate no charm can ward.
And when your life is over,
when we see the path you've trod,
we will see not your boasted glory,
but the mocking of the god.
Before I come to be
I have many miles to go
through fetid swamps of illness,
through rain and drifting snow.
I walk alone this journey,
for all must walk alone
through vales of deathly shadow
and of darkly dreaming stone.
Yet never am I lonely;
for death is in the air.
He touches every living soul
with the fate of mortal care.
I look before and behind me;
but I am lost in swirling mists
and my soul is dragged toward darkness
by the chains around my wrists.
But I walk, and my walk is steady,
I am calm with an inner peace,
and I do not rush on this highway
to the point where all troubles cease.
I am cool with the snows of heaven;
I am warm with the sun of light;
I am ascended like immortals
and gifted with their sight.
The vision deep within me
unfolds like a child's game
and when it is all opened
Renewed shall be my name.
As the clumsy caterpillar
when he weaves his soft cocoon,
I will burst out with shining wings
more brilliant than the moon.
As the light through purest crystal
becomes a rainbow freshly born,
I will change for brilliant colors
this darkness I have worn.
All my life I have been falling
like a wind-ripped snowy flake;
and when I hit the bottom,
from these dreams I will awake.
But long is this weary journey
through the thorn and sickening slime
until the day I am replenished
in the fullness of my time.