God and Man
by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)
I have opened a few pages with their old fonts
From an old book with smoked covers chewed by moths,
Which were crooked, like the blind belief of some strange centuries,
And were depressing, like the stuffy air in the smoked walls.
But on the last page, in heavy and dry hyphens
I’ve seen You born on straw, with a small and ugly face.
Christ, with your tender brow You are a deity.
Mary, you are still, neat and with a misty eye.
Lord, those were the times, when the vague likeness,
Had helped the bold and remarkable men’s flight of fancy…
While the painter’s hand, in its early time was motionless.
The blessed and keen eye, couldn’t work out to copy it on canvas.
But on clear nights, the Virgin, being by You inspired,
She could see you through tears, how You giggled and smiled.
Your mother couldn’t say a thing, while next to You, down on her knees.
She very much raised her devout hands towards the heavens.
Vast lands, lay like a retreat
Amid ancient India’s great tropical forests;
There, the kings allot the people’s fate in endless peace.
They offer their own brief-life, for the next life’s bliss.
But a seer old as the world, he gathers and tells everyone,
That newer than all up to now: a new faith shall be born.
And a shiny star burns in the sky.
To the wonder of that time, it shows the way.
Shall He be the mercy for the faction, which is hard to defend?
Shall He be the dream of all the people, which in one is amalgamated?
Shall He be the hand that shall wipe out people’s fault?
Or He shall be the vast source of the true light.
Could He break up that endless fright?
— A woe, which from a constrained might,
It was born from the want-with-no-end-in-sight.
Kings you, leave your thoughtless world,
And go to worship the-One-born-at-the-inn.
At the inn… Was the Truth born in meekness?
Is the Undying-King adorned in swaddles?
From the agony of a century, from the entire humankind’s sacrifice
A star of peace has risen. He lights the world and the heavens.
They pack on camels, loads of myrrh and gold. They go in convoy.
They follow the star rising on the sky.
It rises on the blue sky towards the lodgings of the Endless Kindness.
Like a piece of the sun in the moist air, it looks.
And then the Christian heart saw the stretching desert.
Wise men from the East go like perched shadows through it.
They follow the holy star into the night, in a famous and quiet team…
The white desert shines by the moon’s revered light-beam.
On the mountain with olive groves and laurel trees,
While telling an old fable, the shepherds have seen the star.
With its lucky beam and its silver ray,
To the blessed stable, they go after its trail in the sky.
Like a king on his throne, the artist sees You now.
But his heart is full of pride. His fine hand doesn’t follow…
His heart is conscious of the mood of this occasion.
And You’re a man not God, in his eye based on reason.
The faith inflames like the straw-fire.
While genuine and deep, the faith was once clear.
You were the Supreme King to everyone.
The faith in You was like a rock…
Now they throw you on canvas, or they cut You in marble.
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