The Song of the Storm-Finch

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Song of the Storm-Finch  (1901) 
by Maxim Gorky, translated by Alice Stone Blackwell

Originally published in Songs of Russia (1906); also published in Mother Earth, Vol. I, no. 1, March 1906.



maxim gorky

The strong wind is gathering the storm-clouds together
Above the gray plain of the ocean so wide.
The storm-finch, the bird that resembles dark lightning,
Between clouds and ocean is soaring in pride.

Now skimming the waves with his wings, and now shooting
Up, arrow-like, into the dark clouds on high,
The storm-finch is clamoring loudly and shrilly;
The clouds can hear joy in the bird’s fearless cry.

In that cry is the yearning, the thirst for the tempest,
And anger’s hot might in its wild notes is heard;
The keen fire of passion, the faith in sure triumph—
All these the clouds hear in the voice of the bird.

The seagulls lament when a storm is impending,
They flit o’er the waves with a wail in their cry;
They are ready to hide in the depths of the ocean
Their dread of the tempest that threatens on high.

The cargeese and grebes, too, shriek hoarsely in terror,
They mourn and complain when the tempest is near;
They know not the joy of a life-and-death struggle;
The crash of the thunderbolt fills them with fear.

The fat, foolish penguin hides, timid and craven,
In nooks of the cliffs, where it finds a safe home;
Alone the proud storm-finch soars freely and boldly
Above the rough ocean, all hoary with foam.

Still nearer and darker the storm-clouds are lowering
Above the broad ocean; the waves as they beat
Are singing and dancing; they lift themselves upward
As if they were longing the thunder to meet.

The thunder is crashing, the billows are roaring,
And foaming with rage, and they shriek and they gasp
As they strive with the gale. Now the storm-wind clasps fiercely
A bevy of waves in his powerful grasp,

And hurls them, with all his mad strength, in grim fury,
Against the precipitous cliffs of the rock.
The emerald masses of water are shattered
To spray and fine mist by the force of the shock.

The storm-finch, the bird that resembles dark lightning,
Is soaring with cries ’mid the tempest’s fierce breath;
Like an arrow he pierces the clouds; with his pinions
He dashes the foam from the billows beneath.

He darts like a haughty black demon of tempest,
In wild exultation that knows no alloy.
’Twixt the sea and the sky he is laughing and sobbing;
He laughs to the clouds, he is sobbing for joy!

In the wrath of the thunder, the keen, quick-eared demon
Has long since detected a note of fatigue.
He is firm in his faith that the clouds will not cover
The bright sun for aye, though they stretch league on league.

The storm-wind is howling, the thunder is roaring;
With flame blue and lambent the cloud-masses glow
O’er the fathomless ocean; it catches the lightnings,
And quenches them deep in its whirlpool below.

Like serpents of fire in the dark ocean writhing,
The lightnings reflected there quiver and shake
As into the blackness they vanish forever.
The tempest! Now quickly the tempest will break!

The storm-finch soars fearless and proud ’mid the lightnings,
Above the wild waves that the roaring winds fret;
And what is the prophet of victory saying?
“Oh, let the storm burst! Fiercer yet—fiercer yet!”

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927.

The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).