I know the truth—
give up all other truths!
I know the truth—give up all other truths!
No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.
Look—it is evening, look it is nearly night;
what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?
The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,
the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.
And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we
Who never let each other sleep above it.
(Trans. Elaine Feinstein)
Lines that challenge everyone – poets, lovers, generals. The power of the imagery – “the storm of stars” – moves me off center. The are many truths … but my focus is to know the truth. Such an individual act. What is most wonderful about this poem is its mix of the personal and the universal.
Once I read this the first time, years ago, I have never been able not to think about it.