A Translation and Reflection of Vergil’s Georgics by Will Storm
I’ve seen the winds’ warriors rush together in battle,
uprooting heavy crops far and wide, from deep roots
thrown high; and the tempest with its black whirlwind
wielding light stalks as flying blades.
Often there comes from heaven an immense column of waters,
clouds mustered from on high assemble a foul storm from black rains;
Proud ether falls and with a monstrous downpour washes away
choice crops and oxen’s labor;
Ditches fill and cavernous streams grow
with a roar, the sea raging with breathing deeps.
Father Zeus himself amidst clouds by night heaves
tremulous bolts with his firm right hand: with which motion the great
earth trembles; everywhere beasts have fled and furtive terror laid low
mortal hearts throughout the races: he with a blazing bolt
throws down Athos, Rhodope, high Cervania;
The winds and densest rains redouble.
Now the woods wail with a monstrous wind, now the shores.
Fearing this, mark the month and stars of heaven…
and foremost venerate the gods.
—Vergil, Georgics 1.318-335, 338a
Nowadays the heavens are flickering voids
where space permits. The forgettable afterthoughts
of architectural inventiveness. Still,
in a summer night’s storm they scream electric colors
throwing tantrums ‘gainst brick and steel,
an manic display of Pythian convulsions
hurtling out to sea towards death—over the horizon’s precipice.
Crowds assemble at windows, peering towards the street,
peering towards each other—like trespassing some sacred grove—
neighbors, busying themselves with closing shades, watching the skies
in suspicion. The intimacy is haunting,
blind down after blind down—bodies hidden in unshaken halls.
And as for me, I fear no mortal wound, but rather
the realities that won’t connect, like parallel lines running on in
infinite frustration, longing—the subtle wails of silence—while I
venerate panes of window light that wander ‘cross dark walls.