Shall I let myself be caught
in my own light?
shall I let myself be broken
in my own heat?
or shall I cleft the rock as of old
and break my own fire
with its surface?

does this fire thwart me
and my craft,
or does my work cloud this light?
which is the god,
which is the stone
the god takes for his use?


Which am I,
the stone or the power
that lifts the rock from the earth?
am I the master of this fire,
is this fire my own strength?

am I master of this
swirl upon swirl of light?
have I made it as in old times
I made the gods from the rock?

have I made this fire from myself?
or is this arrogance?
is this fire a god
that seeks me in the dark?


I made image upon image for my use,
I made image upon image, for the grace
of Pallas was my flint
and my help was Hephaestos

I made god upon god
step from the cold rock,
I made the gods less than men
for I was a man and they my work;

and now what is it that has come to pass?
for fire has shaken my hand,
my strivings are dust


Now what is it that has come to pass?
over my head, fire stands,
my marbles are alert:

each of the gods, perfect,
cries out from a perfect throat:
you are useless,
no marble can bind me,
no stone suggest.


They have melted into the light
and I am desolate;
they have melted;
each from his plinth,
each one departs;

they have gone;
what agony can express my grief?

each from his marble base
has stepped into the light
and my work is for naught.


Now am I the power
that has made this fire
as of old I made the gods
start from the rocks?
am I the god?
or does this fire carve me
for its use?
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