You suppose it wasn’t a horror at first
To think there’s no god and another force
Exists in the godless universe
To drive the planets along their course?
Maybe you think it was very simple —simple as drinking a glass of water—
For a soul of medium, average calibre
To acknowledge itself to be mortal?
No, it wasn’t easy one day to awake
And watching the stars roll down from their heights
To behold infinity and not to quake
At the thought that we, men, were simply mites!
Not so simple to break through the mist of frustration
For a human, in love with this life and this earth,
Finding out that thousands of generations
Long before him were doomed to death from birth.
No, it wasn’t easy to realise
Hard and clear, that you had to die
And all this beauty before your eyes
Would fade together with your restless I,
That life could go on without Allah or Saviour,
Heaven’s enticement or Hell’s torment,
So just overcome fear of death and brave your
Destiny with your head unbent.
Only boldly dispensing with the last of chimeras
That cut through the heart like the blade of a knife,
Can you put back your shoulders and in full measure
Know all the joy of this earthly life.
Hearing a human song resound
You’ll understand, stirred by Nature’s call:
No higher power or idea can be found:
Man alone is almighty after all.
Translated by Dorian Rottenberg