My soul was convulsed by the words that he spoke,
every atom of my body trembled like quicksilver.
Suddenly I saw, between the West and the East, 395
heaven immersed in a single cloud of light;
out of that cloud an angel descended
having two faces, one like fire, one like smoke—
one dark as night, the other bright as a meteor,
the eyes of one watchful, the other’s eyes asleep. 400
The hues of his wings were of crimson and gold,
emerald and silver, azure and lapis-lazuli;
his temper had the fleetness even of a phantom,
he sped from earth to the Milky Way in an instant;
every moment he was seized by another desire, 405
to spread his wings in yet another sky.
He said, ‘I am Zarvan, I am the world-subduer,
alike hidden from sight and manifest am I.
Every plan is bound up with my determining;
voiced and voiceless-all alike are my prey. 410
Through me the bud swells upon the branch,
through me the birdie bewails in the nest;
through my flight the seed becomes a stalk,
through my effluence every parting turns to union.
I pronounce both reproach and exhortation; 415
I render athirst, that I may offer wine.
I am life, I am death, I am resurrection,
I am the Judgment, Hell, Heaven and Houri.
Man and angel are both in bondage to me,
this transitory world is my own child; 420
I am every rose that you pluck from the branch,
I am the matrix of every thing that you see.
This world is a prisoner in my talisman,
every moment it ages through my breath.
But he who has in his heart I have a time with God, 425
that doughty hero has broken my talisman;
if you wish that I should not be in the midst,
recite from the depths of your soul I have a time with God.
I know not what it was that was in his glance,
it snatched away from my sight this ancient world; 430
either my sight opened on another world
or this same world took on another form.
I died in the universe of colour and scent,
I was born in a world without tumult and clamour;
my thread snapped from that ancient world, 435
a whole new world came into my hands.
My soul trembled at the loss of a world
until another world blossomed out of my dust;
my body became nimbler, my soul more adventurous.
the eye of my heart was keener and more wakeful; 440
veiled things became manifest uncurtained,
the melody of the stars reached my cars.