From coastal towns,
where the sky innocently begins a hopeless journey,
came reports of unmarked stars
ruining schedules and confusing fishing-men;
and now it has come out
some northern weather-keepers
in their secret journals
recorded the arrangement of a new constellation;
but we were not told
and our streets seemed unchanged.
We knew nothing of Pharaoh's negotiations
or that higher powers were involved.
We went about our acts of charity,
visiting the city corners
where beggars calculated waltzes
and made rattles with pencils in a cup.
We paid all the lame and wired men
and gained the difficult gestures of many stumps.
We were loved those afternoons
by wagon-sitters and street-musicians：
we had numerous friends among the wretched.
Now our Nile has turned to blood
and in the cafes the scholars jest
about a cosmic wound.
Priests no longer smile
at our catalogue of charities
and even the beggars whom we pity and love
refuse our coins with a curse.
Councils have met and ministers
assure us of a clearer water.
Temples have given out
their beautiful warnings.
But what shall we do while the beggars
hate us from the corner,
regarding us like visitors
who have come into their dark houses
and have seen too much,
or how shall we speak to our children
when they report each day
how their favorite animals have perished
in the city fountains.
My distant enemy in his linen tomb
still murmurs these questions through the crumbling cloth,
though these children died in later battles
and the coloured feathers of their fountain creatures
turned dust in the dynasties of war.
He still remembers the locusts
eating through the window panes
and the wooden carts
squeaking past the blackened castles
with their sad cargo of first-born dead.【1】cargo 不理解
And in his soft grave the shouts again are heard
as the walls of water break in on the chariots,
and under the terrible wave
go the beautiful boys from Memphis and Thebes
and the adorned riders charging against the foam.
Dream your questions,my oppressor,dream;
you of whom advice was never asked,
who die not order the attack,
whose tacit approval was always assumed.
You have endured your Flood
and you will have your Covenant:
perhaps now beneath the miles of water,
the Messenger,blessed be he,
moves between the alien chariots,
comforting Egyptian drowned
and teaching them songs for their damp harps:
how the sea did not wish to be a mouth,
how the east wind turned with grief to his calamity.
And I will instruct my friends
in your human innocence
as your seed and mine
gather in armies of blind giants
to war again at ancient useless borders;
and know,my taskmaster,that we too ask:
how long in the wilderness of Sinai
until the sons of bondsmen
understand their fathers'slavery;
who will read the chart of whip-scars on the backs;
who will interpret the numbers
burnt on our brothers'wrists.
And let this comfort you:
though no great fish came
to spit your drowning boys on dry land,
and no pillar of light illumined a road back
through the falling water,
still these uncommitted bodies
dried the swamp toward Jerusalem,
and your widows and sweethearts along the shore
wept a prayer which found our God.