- 2 -three generations of cranes, sways in irritated undulations that foreshadow the oncoming thunderstorm. Afterlooking with composure several times in every direction with eyes that bespeak experience, the first crane (for heis the privileged one to show his tail feathers to the other, intellectually inferior cranes) vigilantly cries out like amelancholy sentinel driving back the common enemy, and then carefully steers the nose of the geometric figure(it would be a triangle, but the third side, formed in space by these curious avian wayfarers, is invisible), be it toport, or to starboard, like a skilful captain; and, manoeuvring with wings that seem no larger than those of a spar-row, he thus adopts, since he is no dumb creature, a different and safer philosophical course.
Stanza 6: The Nails (The Reader as an Accomplice)
One should let one's nails grow for a fortnight. Oh! How sweet it is to brutally snatch from his bed a child withno hair yet on his upper lip, and, with eyes wide open, to pretend to suavely stroke his forehead, brushing back his beautiful locks! Then, suddenly, at the moment when he least ex-pects it, to sink one's long nails into his tender breast, being careful,though, not to kill him; for if he died, there would be no later viewingof his misery. Then, one drinks the blood, licking the wounds; and, dur-ing the entire procedure, which ought to last no shorter than an aeon,the boy cries. Nothing could be better than his blood, warm and justfreshly squeezed out as I have described, if it weren't for his tears, bit-ter as salt. Mortal one, haven't you ever tasted your blood, when bychance you cut your finger? Tasty, isn't it? For it has no taste. Besides,can you not recall one day, absorbed in your dismal thoughts, havinglifted your deeply cupped palm to your sickly face, drenched by thedownpour from your eyes; the said hand then making its fatal way toyour mouth, which, from this vessel chattering like the teeth of theschoolboy who glances sidelong at the one born to oppress him, suckedthe tears in long draughts? Tasty, aren't they? For they taste of vinegar.A taste reminiscent of the tears of your true love, except a child's tearsare so much more pleasing to the palate. He is incapable of deceit, forhe does not yet know evil: but the most loving of women is bound tobetray sooner or later... This I deduce by analogy, despite my ignoranceof what friendship means, what love means (I doubt I will ever accepteither of these, at least not from the human race). So, since your bloodand tears do not disgust you, go ahead, feed confidently on the adoles-cent's tears and blood. Blindfold him, while you tear open his quiveringflesh; and, after listening to his resplendent squeals for a good fewhours, similar to those hoarse shrieks of death one hears from thethroats of the mortally wounded on battlefields, you then, running outfaster than an avalanche, fly back in from the room next door, pretend-ing to rush to his rescue. You untie his hands, with their swollen nerves and veins, you restore sight to his dis-traught eyes, as you resume licking his tears and blood. Oh, what a genuine and noble change of heart! That di-vine spark within us, which so rarely appears, is revealed; too late! How the heart longs to console the innocentone we have harmed. "O child, who has just undergone such cruel torture, who could have ever committed suchan unspeakable crime upon you! You poor soul! The agony you must be going through! And if your motherwere to know of this, she would be no closer to death, so feared by evildoers, than I am now. Alas! What, then,are good and evil? Might they be one and the same thing, by which in our furious rage we attest our impotenceand our passionate thirst to attain the infinite by even the maddest means? Or might they be two separate things?Yes... they'd better be one and the same... for, if not, what shall become of me on the Day of Judgment? Forgiveme, child. Here before your noble and sacred eyes stands the man who crushed your bones and tore off the stripsof flesh dangling from various parts of your body. Was it a frenzied inspiration of my delirious mind, was it a