Bread and Wine

Bread and Wine

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.

by Friedrich Holderlin
English version by Robert Bly
Original Language German

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