Poem of the Week: I will not crush the world’s corolla of wonders

This poem is by Lucian Blaga (1895-1961), translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu.

I will not crush the world’s corolla of wonders

I will not crush the world’s corolla of wonders
and I will not kill
with reason
the mysteries I meet along my way
in flowers, eyes, lips, and graves.
The light of others
drowns the deep magic hidden
in the profound darkness.
I increase the world’s enigma
with my light
much as the moon with its white beams
does not diminish but increases
the shimmering mysteries of night —
I enrich the darkening horizon
with chills of the great secret.
All that is hard to know
becomes a greater riddle
under my very eyes
because I love alike
flowers, lips, eyes, and graves.

I first read this poem years ago, when I was a neo-pagan. It seemed then to have the brave qualities of a manifesto against the reductionism of mere facts. Since then I have learned that scientific explanations do not “kill/with reason”. The more I know, the more I wonder at. Beauty and mystery are not susceptible to reason — it’s a gut instinct, probably honed by millennia of being human in the world.

Try to imagine Einstein sitting out on the front porch of his house in Princeton, NJ, looking up at a full moon, and saying, “Pah! It’s just a chunk of rock gouged out of the Earth in an asteroid collision! Nothing to see here.”

I was going to say, “So Blaga gets it wrong,” but that doesn’t convey what I mean. It’s about how you read a poem, the unique understanding of each reader. I love the poem for its imagery, and understand the imagery to express the fundamental connection we have with the natural world.

2 thoughts on “Poem of the Week: I will not crush the world’s corolla of wonders

  1. 🙂 It s funny when you think of it… The poem contains quite a few Christian Orthodox references: the “mysteries” are roughly the Orthodox equivalent of the Catholic sacraments. But by this I am guilty of crushing the world s corolla of wonders.

    What I meant to say was that…
    This is what truly good poetry can do – bring together the neo-pagans and the Christians.

    • Neopaganism has a lot in common with Christianity, which is built on pagan foundations. There’s a shared sense of the sacred, which neopagans find in nature and Christians find in God. Some of the Christian saints were positively pagan in the sense of loving nature – St. Francis of Assisi, for example.

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