Priest versus philosopher
by Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889)
You reprimand us, priests, when we don’t have your saints
— Even though we all are of the same kind as you…
The hunt for gold and opulence in this world
To us as well it means the reign of the wicked.
To us as well the crowding to the way to enjoyment,
Raises disgust in our soul and pain in our heart.
We feel that we are the brood of nastiness, as well.
We are misfortunes thrown out in the eternal-time’s ripple.
Our desire — the fizz of our nastiness —
It is like the blue-sea’s passing waves
— The sea-weaves, on which sails the Cruiser-of-endless-sorrows.
And like the sea, our heart retreats with a shudder.
We too have a law — even though it is different.
We feel we carry the Universe, and it is too heavy for us.
We know we are the descendants of the old sin
That Cain’s tribe has brought into this world.
It is a sign we understood this, even if we don’t dress it in parables.
What in others is heresy, it is belief in us. Heretical is the tyrant
That makes the sign of the cross in front of a cross,
While his barbaric hordes bring death and shambles.
In vain he prays holding the pew with his dry hands.
Satan hovers over him with stretched wings.
To no avail there is a coffin next to his bed,
When his hordes have stretched the desert larger still on this world.
What God could forgive him, for changing entire kingdoms into bare lands?
And heretic is the one, who kisses your attire,
When the hatred in his heart is so entrenched.
To no avail you try to save them all. A range of bad ones, still persevere.
And fate needs to scatter them into the wind
And wake them up from the dream with which the demon of this world
Surrounds them — the plot is weird.
Do not rebuke us! We are like those with fine hearing.
And we made sense of the mysterious, divine whisper.
Follow your way with the cohort of illogical people
And compose symphonies and hymns for the deaf.
Pulverize the truth on idols made of wood and stones,
Since, the not good enough kin of these days,
Know only these.
The sublime truth that you pass on in parables,
We have it from Heaven.
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