Invocation to the Sun, the Prologue to The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel

A must share piece of literature that a dear friend introduced me to! One of the most beautiful writings I’ve ever seen or heard. One I will think of every time I Surya Namaskara to the sun or meditate to sunrise.

Enjoy

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by Nikos Kazantzakis

O Sun, great Oriental, my proud mind’s golden cap,
I love to wear you cocked askew, to play and burst
in song throughout our lives, and so rejoice our hearts.
Good is this earth, it suits us! Like the global grape
it hangs, dear God, in the blue air and sways in the gale,
nibbled by all the birds and spirits of the four winds.
Come, let’s start nibbling too, and so refresh our minds!
Between two throbbing temples in the mind’s great wine vats
I tread on the crisp grapes until the wild must boils
and my mind laughs and steams within the upright day.
Has the earth sprouted wings and sails, has my mind swayed
until black-eyed Necessity got drunk  and burst in song?
Above me spreads the raging sky, below me swoops
my belly, a white gull that breasts the cooling waves;
my nostrils fill with salty spray, the billows burst
swiftly against my back, rush on, and I rush after.
 .

Great Sun, who pass on high yet watch all things below,
I see the sun-drenched cap of the great castle-wrecker:
let’s kick and scuff it round to see where it will take us!
Learn, lads, that Time has cycles and that Fate has wheels
and that the mind of man sits high and twirls them round;
come quick, let’s spin the world about and send it tumbling!
O Sun, my quick coquetting eye, my red-haired hound,
sniff out all quarries that I love, give them swift chase,
tell me all that you’ve seen on earth, all that you’ve heard,
and I shall pass them through my entrails’ secret forge
till slowly, with profound caresses, play and laughter,
stones, water, fire, and earth shall be transformed to spirit,
and the mud-winged and heavy soul, freed of its flesh,
shall like a flame serene ascend and fade in sun.
 .

3You’ve eaten and drunk well, my lads, on festive shores,
until the feast within you turned to dance and laughter,
love-bites and idle chatter that dissolved in flesh;
but in myself the meat turned monstrous, thewine rose,
a sea-chant leapt within me, rushed to knock me down,
until I longed to sing this song- make way, my brothers!
Oho, the festival lasts long, the place is small;
make way, let me have air, give me a ring to stretch in,
a place to spread my shinbones, kick up my heels,
so that my giddiness won’t wound your wives and children.
As soon as I let my words loose along the shore
to hunt all mankind down, I know they’ll choke my throat,
and when my full neck smothers and my pain grows vast
I shall rise up- make way!- to dance on raging shores.
 .

4Snatch prudence from me, God, burst my brows wide, fling far
the trap doors of my mind, let the world breathe awhile.
Ho, workers, peasants, you ant-swarms, carters of grain,
I fling red poppies down, may the world burst in flames!
Maidens, with wild doves fluttering in your soothing breasts,
brave lads, with your black-hilted swords thrust in  belts,
no matter how you strive, earth’s but a barren tree,
but I, ahoy, with my salt songs shall force the flower!
Fold up your aprons, craftsmen, cast your tools away,
fling off Necessity’s firm yoke, for Freedom calls.
Freedom, my lads, is neither wine nor a sweet maid,
not goods stacked in vast cellars, no, nor sons in cradles,
it’s but a scornful, lonely song the wind has takenŠ
Come, drink of Lethe’s brackish spring to cleanse your minds,
forget your cares, your poisons, your ignoble profits,
and make your hearts as babes, unburdened, pure and light.
 .

5O brain, be flowers that nightingales may come to sing!
Old men, howl all you can to bring your white teeth back,
to make your hair crow-black, your youthful wits go wild,
for by our Lady Moon and our Lord Sun, I swear
old age is a false dream and Death but fantasy,
all playthings of the brain and the soul’s affectations,
all but a mistral’s blast that blows the temples wide;
the dream was lightly dreamt and thus the earth was made;
let’s take possession of the earth with song, my lads!
Aye, fellow craftsmen, seize your oars, the Captain comes;
and mothers, give your sweet babes suck to stop their wailing!
Ahoy, cast wretched sorrow out, prick up your ears-
I sing the sufferings and torments of renowned Odysseus!

 
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