In a man’s single day are all the days
of time from that unimaginable
first day, when a terrible God marked out
the days and agonies, to that other,
when the ubiquitous flow of earthly
time goes back to its source, Eternity,
and flickers out in the present, the past,
and the future—what now belongs to me.
Between dawn and dark lies the history
of the world. From the vault of night I see
at my feet the wanderings of the Jew,
Carthage put to the sword, Heaven and Hell.
Grant me, O Lord, the courage and the joy
to ascend to the summit of this day.
Translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni
“Elogio de la sombra”