Jeff Harrison & W.B. Yeats
MIS/TRANSLATION
 

Byzantium

That blood-begotten, dolphin-torn sea
begets fresh images, yet that those images
break bitter furies of complexities:

dancing floor of the marbles, of the Emperor,
of his smithies all of gold (these smithies
break the flood, Spirit after Spirit).

Astraddle on the dolphin's mire and blood,
an agony of flame that cannot singe a sleeve,
(an agony of trance dying into a dance).

And all complexities of fury leave
where gong-tormented spirits come
flames begotten of flame nor storm disturbs,

nor steel has lit flames that no faggot feeds
at midnight on the Emperor's pavement flit.
And all complexities of mire or blood,

common bird or petal in glory of changeless metal,
or, by the moon embittered, scorn aloud,
can like the cocks of Hades crow.

Planted on the star-lit golden bough,
more miracle than bird or handiwork,
miracle, bird or golden handiwork --

I call it death-in-life and life-in-death.
I hail the superhuman breathless mouths may summon.
A mouth that has no moisture and no breath

may unwind the winding path
for Hades' bobbin bound in mummy-cloth,
shade more than man, more image than a shade.

Before me floats an image, man or shade.
The fury and the mire of human veins (all
mere complexities), all that man is,

a starlit or a moonlit dome disdains.
After great cathedral gong (night walkers' song),
night resonance recedes.

The Emperor's drunken soldiery are abed,
the unpurged images of day recede.
Byzantium.


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