Out of the High Mountains


O noon of life! A time to celebrate!

            Oh garden of summer!

Restless happiness in standing, gazing, waiting:—

I wait for friends, ready day and night.

You friends, where are you? Come! It's time! It's time!

Was it not for you that the glacier's grayness

            today decked itself with roses?

The stream is seeking you, and wind and clouds

with yearning push themselves higher into the blue today

to look for you from the furthest bird's eye view.

For you my table has been set at the highest point.

            Who lives so near the stars?

Who's so near the furthest reaches of the bleak abyss?

My realm — what realm has stretched so far?

And my honey — who has tasted that? . . .

There you are, my friends!— Alas, so I am not the man,

            not the one you're looking for?

You hesitate, surprised!— Ah, your anger would be better!

Am I no more the one? A changed hand, pace, and face?

And what am I— for you friends am I not the one?

Have I become another? A stranger to myself?

            Have I sprung from myself?

A wrestler who overcame himself so often?

Too often pulling against his very own power,

wounded and checked by his own victory?

I looked where the wind blows most keenly?

            I learned to live

where no one lives, in deserted icy lands,

forgot men and god, curse and prayer?

Became a ghost that moves over the glaciers?

— You old friends! Look! Now your gaze is pale,

            full of love and horror!

No, be off! Do not rage! You can't live here:

here between the furthest realms of ice and rock —

here one must be a hunter, like a chamois.

I've become a wicked hunter! See, how deep

            my bow extends!

It was the strongest man who made such a pull —

Woe betide you! The arrow is dangerous —

like no arrow — away from here! For your own good! . . .

You're turning around?— O heart, you deceive enough,

            your hopes stayed strong:

hold your door open for new friends!

Let the old ones go! Let go the memory!

Once you were young, now — you are even younger!

What bound us then, a band of one hope —

            who reads the signs,

love once etched there — still pale?

I compare it to parchment which the hand

fears to touch — like that discoloured, burned.

No more friends — they are . . . But how can I name that?—

            Just friendly ghosts!

That knocks for me at night on my window and my heart,

that looks at me and says, "But we were friends?"—

— O shrivelled word, once fragrant as a rose!

O youthful longing which misunderstands itself!

            Those yearned for,

whom I imagined changed to my own kin,

they have grown old, have exiled themselves.

Only the one who changes stays in touch with me.

O noon of life! A second youthful time!

            O summer garden!

Restless happiness in standing, gazing, waiting!

I wait for friends, ready day and night.

You friends, where are you? Come! It's time! It's time

                               *           *


The song is done — the sweet cry of yearning

            died in my mouth:

A magician did it, a friend at the right hour,

a noontime friend — no! Do not ask who it might be —

it was at noon when one turned into two . . . .

Now we celebrate, certain of victory, united,

            the feast of feasts:

friend Zarathustra came, the guest of guests!

Now the world laughs, the horror curtain splits,

the wedding came for light and darkness . . . .

Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
Aftersong - Aphorism # 297

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