No wave is governed,
Nor storm tamed,
Neither can man possess the pow’r to control the skies.
He may reduce whole mountains to rubble,
But they are mere pimples on the face
Of a mighty and wrathful giant.
It will sleep and rest a million years more,
And while in slumber it remains,
New mountains will rise, old will fall,
Regardless of men’s gains.
So bow to your mighty God,
Whose noble face
Will never be truly besmirched by humankind.
For should a mortal possess such majesty,
They will learn the compassion of the mind,
That marks all those with pow’r divine.
Today is another poem that is pretty random – just something I felt like doing. It’s after a quotation – the title, translated in the first line. It was popular with Bismarck, the man who, perhaps more than any other (Though arguments can be made for Napoleon) is responsible for the unification of Germany. He generally disliked Latin mottos, but saw this to mean ‘man cannot create or control the tide of time, he can only move in the same direction and try to direct it.’ The consideration of how impassive mountains can be to human affairs is influenced by Braudel’s idea of history in the longue durée – ultimately, human action becomes meaningless when compared to vast geographic sweeps of time. Both Bismarck and Braudel are worth looking up – though don’t read Braudel’s masterpiece on the Mediterranean unless you have a lot of time…
The Hapless Neo-Romantic.