The Goths of old at baptism meekly wore
A look of doom.... But when the holy waters
Washed over them, aloft they held their swords,
Their fists unbaptised left for ever after.
Whatever the commandment’s stern behest,
Humility, like patience, has its limit.
Though kind at heart, yet clenched I’ll keep my fist—
And may there be the strength of metal in it.
Translated by Irina Zheleznova