Universal Brotherhood – January 1899

THE CYCLE OF LIFE: I — Mary Konopnitsky

TRANSLATED FROM THE POLISH BY V. A. H.

PRELUDE

In the new morn, that dawns above the world, I put aside the black and sombre harp, that plays and sings so sadly. For, from the ocean's farthest shore, with the first daybreak blushes, with the golden arrows of the sun, there comes on rosy wings, all radiant with fiery auroras, a new song, a bird of the arriving spring.

In the new morn, that dawns above the world, I stretch the golden strings, I weave them from the day-beams, I paint them with the iris dew. For through the mould of sorrows, there breaks the music of mountain waterfalls; their vernal voice and chime now reach me from every rock and rill, and a new flowery raiment is again woven for the earth.

In the new morn, that dawns above the world, I tie fresh golden cords of sound, — not for the pain, not for the longing in the gloom, not for the old complaint of the lonely heart. I send them into the blue infinitudes unrestrained, I launch them from globe to globe, into the farthest space. From star to star there glistens of my strings the golden grate.

I.

I am a ray. The fount of Light I cannot circumscribe. And yet I fly. Through the dark nights I fly, through stars and pallid moons; I kindle ephemeral scintillations, I send out my trembling light towards infinity's eternal flame, from which shines forth the sun of all the suns. And now I darken, totter, pale; I lose my breath, my hope, I smoulder like a spark. And lo! again I energize my rays, cast into endless skies; again I illume myself and burn; I reach forth, I fly in space as a fiery ribbon from the spindle of the spirit. Now my tiny ray approaches the great sun; it is already burning with eternity's first blush. As an arrow I sling myself into the bright path, illuminated by the rosy dawn. I am a ray — the fount of Light I cannot circumscribe. Let me, then, be encompassed by its dome.

II.

I am a spark of eternity; and I am a pilgrim. Even today shall I pass away, after a while, after an hour's stroke, together with the smoke of the shepherd's fire, which writhes in blue strands over the forest in the eve, and disappears in the tears of dew before the night. Even today shall I be divorced from that power, which holds me here from the twilight to the twilight, and the sun shall not see me more with his golden eyes.

I am a spark of eternity. Beyond the cold ashes I shall exist even to the dawn, . . . And then in my own embers shall I wax in brightness, glow as gold and burn as ruby; I shall pass through the grayness of the dust of this my bed, and before the rosy dawn shall have bathed herself in dew, before the sun shall have lifted his golden gaze from beyond the sea, I shall strike into the flames of life.

III.

How many dawns, how many twilights have I passed? Do I know it myself? Through how many gates of body and of soul have I entered into life, as an eternal voyager, who is born daily, now here, now there, from the sleep of death, in the earliest morn.

And then, exhausted, I departed to the West, through the great twilight dusk, which, all blazing with gold and red as blood, led me into the silent fields of blue, upon the dreamy meadows of the moon, all heaving with the beating of the wings of Psyche-butterflies, where I sought my sleep, and my head leaning on eternity's great bosom, I rested after a life and before a life.

IV.

Myself — the gate, and myself — the path, once only in this cycle have I issued from the Divine Light. Once only blew its breath for all bodies and souls, once only has it in the morning of Day opened its bosom of luminous archetypal thought, — and all subsequent myriads of forms, before and now, were sculptured by myself.

Lo! I emerge from the conflagration of blood; I come in the likeness of a child, I who am a lion, crouching for the powers of the heavens and of the earth. And I depart into the night, through the blood and through the pain, crouching as a shadow, for the dawn and for the day. After a time, after a moment I increase in strength, I spring up in the dust. My germ of existence now feels hunger of life; it attracts life's forces and lifts green blades above the grave. The sun now warms it for a new day of its immortal labor.

V.

With no gift am I favored in my early hour. All my radiance have I spun myself through many nights and shadows. And all my powers upon the earth and in the heavens have I obtained from my own mystic depths. Every form I have, it is of ages' toil, it is an effort of many births, a battle of many darkling deaths. What light have I, by a promethean labor, through thousand lives, spark by spark have I stolen it from the sun, spark by spark have I seized it from the blushes of the morning. The rosy coral of the dawns, and lilies' whiteness have I plucked unseen in the gardens of the night from the silvery stars. There is no color and no sound upon the waving meadows, among the nests of eagles or of nightingales, which through the ages, in ruins' coldness and scorching heat of life I have not worked out from a laughter to a groan, — alive by my own self.

VI.

And my right is to upwards grow through all the worlds. And my right is to expand my heart through all the worlds. In storms, in silence I burst the bars of death's prisons, and strike the metal of the all-awakening bell!

Lightning of life, and thunderbolt of life I let into the dark camera of death, into the house of dust. And touched by a spark of the spirit the dust explodes with life, the soil opens, waving the flowers of new spring, and again breathes joyous in the splendor of the day.

VII.

The soul-bird builds her cage herself, — with songs and flapping of her wings, — and enters then its gates all fascinated with the life.

But soon the winged guest, from the infinity, newcomer, striking her prison's trellis-wall, reddens her golden pinions with the ruby blood.

She hushes then in-the dusky shadows of her house; a longing eats her heart away for the freedom of the dawn.

Till overcome with pain she strikes her breast against the walls and breaks the cage herself.

With songs and flapping of her wings, from the dusk, called life, she flies away near to the gates of the eternal light.

VIII.

Upon the dark and stormy roads I walk, bare-footed, poor; I onward pass, naked and hungry, through life's cold and night; only one light can brighten there my way and feed my strength, — the light of daring, burning in my breast; it helps me more than stars and more than moons. No sun in heaven can kindle it in me, but I must get it from myself, striking my spirit against the hard experiences of life, that the breast might catch the spark as does dry tinder when the steel strikes the flint.

IX.

With me do I carry the enemy, whether I leave my threshold, or return back to my home.

With me do I bring the traitor, and he is my heart's shadow, — the thunderbolt striking me.

With its storm it will scatter the roof of my dwelling, set fire to my house.

And then suddenly stopping, the sails of my boat will be folded, and down will it sink.

(To be continued.)


Universal Brotherhood

THEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS ONLINE