The Nacreous Oughts

01 August 2008

Rivers level granite mountains,
Rains wash the figures from the sundial,
The plowshare wears thin in the furrow;
And on the fingers of the mighty
The gold of authority is bright
With the glitter of attrition.

--Sulpicius Lupercus Servasius, Jr (tr. Rexroth)

    "On Antiquity"

Everything that Mother Nature sent forth
however you might deem it solid, totters;
by time and long the frail and fleeting
   by use is broken.

The river to unwonted used to a valley route
alters and the fixed path, to steep new ways;
go burst when badly by repeated
   floodings their banks.

Falling rough excavates water, tufa;
the iron ploughshare dwindles in the fields;
shines on the fingers with worn, the honoring
   ring, its gold.

(my tr.)

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