Monday, September 3, 2012

Metres VII

We're back from Wyoming and the verse that I left unfinished on my way out is done for now.


VII (II met.iv)

Next Lady Wisdom attended to her practice,
singing her wise words, a poem according to her message,
chanting a certain true statement further,
speaking that she had never heard that on a high hill
any man could establish a firm-roofed hall.

“No man needs also to believe in these works,
to ever mediate wisdom with pride.
Have you ever heard that any man
who could set a fixed hall on a sand dune?

“Nor could any man raise up wisdom where
covetousness overshadows the mountains.
Bare sand will swallow the rains,
and so does the bottomless greed of the rich
for boasting and trinkets,
drinking to the dregs failing prosperity,
and though the thirst of these beggars will never be cooled.

“Nor can the house of man last for long
on the mountainside, because the swift winds
will sweep it down suddenly.
Nor will sand be any better guardian
of the house to any man against a great rain,
but it will be tumbled to the ground,
the sand sinking after the downpour.

“So will be the mind of every lonely man
greatly undermined from an agitated place,
when the wind of worldly misery
under the skies strongly troubles it,
or the fierce rains moves it about—
a certain anxiety, universal superfluity.

“But he who wishes to possess true and eternal happiness,
he shall quickly fly from these worldly facades,
and build himself afterwards a house of the mind,
where he can find humble stones, a huge fortress
and a ready foundation.

“He will not need to collapse though the winds
of worldly misery should drive against it
or intense rains of anxiety, because in that valley
the lord of settled humility himself dwells,
were wisdom always abides in the mind.
Therefore wise world-men may always lead a secure life
without alteration.

“Then he would reject all this earthly good
and also become accustomed to its predictable evils,
expecting them eternally to follow after,
and then almighty good from every direction
continually and always keeps him
the one dwelling alone through the Measurer’s grace,
though the wind of worldly woe troubles him
greatly and eternal care encumber him,
then the grim wind of worldly good blows angrily
against him, although always his anxiety
of worldly fortune cruelly afflicts him.”