Thursday, June 24, 2010

On the Nature of Things - Lucretius

No single thing abides; but all things flow.

Fragment to fragment clings-the things thus grow

Until we know and name them. By degrees

They melt, and are no more the things we know.

Globed from the atoms falling slow or swift

I see the suns, I see the systems lift

Their forms; and even the systems and the suns

Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.

Thou too, oh earth-your empires, lands, and seas -

Least with your stars, of all the galaxies,

Globed from the drift like these, like these you too

Shalt go. You are going, hour by hour, like these.

Nothing abides. The seas in delicate haze

Go off; those mooned sands forsake their place;

And where they are, shall other seas in turn

Mow with their scythes of whiteness other bays.

The seeds that once were we take flight and fly,

Winnowed to earth, or whirled along the sky,

Not lost but disunited. Life lives on.

It is the lives, the lives, the lives, that die.

They go beyond recapture and recall,

Lost in the all-indissoluble All:-

Gone like the rainbow from the fountain's foam,

Gone like the spindrift shuddering down the squall.

Flakes of the water, on the waters cease!

Soul of the body, melt and sleep like these.

Atoms to atoms-weariness to rest -

Ashes to ashes-hopes and fears to peace!

O Science, lift aloud your voice that stills

The pulse of fear, and through the conscience thrills -

Thrills through the conscience with the news of peace -

How beautiful your feet are on the hills!

Enjoy my bumpy reading of this poem here.