I am an exile at the sea in my ramshackle boat.
The waves engage it in wild dance and buffet at the prow.
In vain I beg the troubled depth to leave my boat astir:
It sends sharp diamond drops at me and gorges down an oar.
My vessel thrusts itself against a lonely granite cliff;
The fragments of its wooden mast form a malignant glyph.
A shape in fluttering dark robe emerges from the squall –
The tempest demon! He summons my poor wretched soul.
Elusive shadows in his face, salt sparkling in his guise,
He hurls a gust of wind at me; it rips into my side.
And down the cliff plunges my life, unclad, impuissant, void,
Ensnared by the raging foam, impetuously destroyed!
All sounds fade into the night, and darkness reigns the sea.
A useless skein of glowing threads is what remains of me.
And then – a peal of demon’s roar! A blaze of smoldering eye!
He wraps me in his wild heat, I am the tempest now, and I
If I travel down the river
If I travel down the river,
Down the river, to the light,
I will roam the golden slumbers
Till the world goes out of sight.
If I sink in whirling waters,
Down, towards the glowing mist,
I will guard my seaweed lair
From the current and the beasts.
If I travel up the river
To the wild and barren land
I will seek a wind-borne flower;
At its roots I’ll meet my end.