Safe in their alabaster chambers

Safe in their alabaster chambers,
Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

 

Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine;
Babbles the bee in a stolid ear;
Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence, —
Ah, what sagacity perished here!

 

Grand go the years in the crescent above them;
Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.

 

*****

 

Bezpieczni w alabastru swoich izbach,
Nie tknięci jutrzenką, ni południem tknięci,
Potulni śpią uczestnicy jakiego wskrzeszenia,
Krokiew z satyny, z kamienia dach.

 

Śmiech światła w zamku jej słonecznym oddycha;
Na pszczoły bzdurzenie nieczuły słuch;
Ptaszki słodkie pogwizdują nutą naiwną, —
Oj, cóż za mądrość przepadła tu!

 

Lat przybywa nad nimi wspaniałych;
Światy łuki łączą, zwieńczenia się mnożą,
Doże poddają, a diademy padają,
Jak szczelinki śnieżynek, milcząco.

 

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

The poem has received varied approaches, some religious, some questioning belief. The phrase the members of the resurrection localizes: it is an isolated event the poem regards, hence the translation jakie wskrzeszenie. All members of the resurrection as in the Christian creed have not even been born yet, thus my interpretation as irony about pretended belief.

 

The phrase rafter of satin, and roof of stone can be interpreted symbolically. Both satin and stone can be good materials, yet they would be misused in a construction as above. Therefore, we have krokiew z satyny, z kamienia dach, for an implausible construct of pretended belief. The poem has more reference to constructing, generally: Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row.

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