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Ways of Cain

World is a staircase Man has tried to climb
— Beasts, stars, the slag of flesh.
They served him as ascending steps
As he clutched high along the path
of his rebel’ous mind.

Rebellion or adaptation?
From these two ways that creatures earnestly beseech
the former is sheer madness
(for Nature never yields);
Yet who can stop a madman from his craze?
Some’ve chosen adaptation — thus
they’s hushed forever at a trodden step.
The beast is fit for Nature’s bends
But Man rows stubbornly to ancient chaos:
He worships war,
Creates through doubt,
And gains a firm hold through negation.
He is an architect,
But chisel he employs is death,
His clay-capricious mind inside him.

Once, in the dark of ages,
shaggy beast went out of mind
and turned into a Man
— Most evil and perilous beast on Earth —
Insane with logic,
and obsessed by faith;
Intelligence became a cursing of Creation;
Man left his stains across the way:
Dissected life and put in into numbers,
He muzzled nature s roots
and probed its substance;
Like a parasite,
He sucked the earth
until it suffered inextinguishable pain;
He sought the keys for sacred truths,
Released the titans, dressed them into iron,
He harnessed them for an exhaustive work;
He changed the world but could not change himself;
He’s gotten lost in his own caves,
He turned into a slave of his own servants.

— Maximilian Voloshin
25 January 1923

(Trans. by Victor Postnikov)


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