Wednesday, August 10


The Song of the Stormy Petrel, Maksim Gorki, 1901

Over the gray flatness of the sea the wind is gathering storm-clouds. Between the clouds and the sea proudly soars the stormy petrel, as a streak of black lightning.

His wing touching the waves, now as an arrow shooting to the clouds, he screams, and — the clouds hear joy in the bird's proud cry.

In that cry — the lust of the storm! The power of anger, the flame of passion and certainty in victory the clouds hear in that cry.

The seagulls whimper before the storm, — whimper, are thrown about over the sea and are ready to hide their horror to its depths.

And the diver-birds also whimper, — the diver-birds cannot attain the joy of life's struggle: the thunder of lightning-bolts frightens them.

The foolish penguin cowardly hides its fat flesh in the rocks ... only the proud stormy petrel soars bold and free over the grey froth of the sea!

Ever darker and lower clouds drop to the sea, the waves singing and tearing themselves to pieces to meet the thunder.

Thunder rumbles. In a froth of anger moan the waves, fighting the wind. See the wind grab waves in a powerful embrace, and with a fling, smash them against the rocks, beating the emerald masses to drops and mist.

The stormy petrel soars with a scream, a streak of black lightning, as an arrow pierces the clouds, on wing-tip slicing the wave froth.

See him hover, like a demon — proud, black demon of the storm — he laughs, and cries ... he laughs atop the clouds, he cries with joy!

In the froth of anger — clever demon, — he has long heard weariness, he knows that the clouds won't defeat the sun — no, the sun will triumph!

The wind roars ... Thunder rumbles ...

The clouds burn as a blue flame over the sea's abyss. The sea catches arrows of lightning and in her depths snuffs them. As snakes of fire reflect those twisting bolts, vanishing.

— The storm! Soon will break the storm!

The bold stormy petrel proudly flies between the lightning and the frothing anger of the sea; now screams the prophet of victory:

Let the storm burst forth in all fury!


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