|Is the firefly aglow in the garden’s abode?|
Or blazes a lamp in the throng of the flowers?
Has a star fluttered down that high aloft rode?
Has a ray of the moon won some life-throbbing powers?
Has the envoy of day come to realms of the night?
Come humbly, a gleam to its own land unknown?
Has there fallen a whorl that moon’s cloak once bedight?
From the robe of the sun has a sequin been shown?
Here is hidden the sheen of Old Beauty and bright
That Nature uncovers for men of our day.
In this little moon are both darkness and light,
As eclipse may advance, or eclipse pass away.
The moth and the firefly through air both take wing.
One seeks for light: one in light’s all arrayed:
|On earth nature grants all some soul-gladd’ning thing.|
For the moth was heat, for the firefly light made.
On birds that were tongueless it dowered melody:
Gave a tongue to the rose but withheld from it song.
For sunset it fashioned sheer half-light to see;
Set fairy a-glitter but her life made not long:
The morning made brilliant like sweet bird of love:
Clad down in red robes—with dew’s mirror dawn plays.
It brought the tree shadiness, caused air to move,
Set motion to water, taught waves’ restless ways.
Yet this is a puzzle that troubles our mind.
The day of the firefly for us is the night.
|In everything luster of beauty we fine;|
In man there is speech: opening buds smile delight.
This moon of the sky is as heat of the bard.
There shines the bright moon: here is anguish of pain.
There must be some trick in the ways of the word:
Else the bird would be fragrance, the flower sing refrain.
The riddle of union’s in beauty rich hid.
The glitter of firefly is fragrance of flower.
Then why comes perversely this discord unbid
When all things at heart hide this silence of power?
Translated by: H.T. Sorley