To Life

The Other Dancing Song (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Pt III)

Into your eyes I looked recently, 0 life: I saw gold blinking in your night-eye; my heart stopped in delight: a golden boat I saw blinking on nocturnal waters, a golden rocking-boat, sinking, drinking, and winking again. haiku leaves
At my foot, frantic to dance, you cast a glance, a laughing, questioning, melting rocking-glance: twice only you stirred your rattle with your small hands, and my foot was already rocking with dancing frenzy. My heels twitched, then my toes hearkened to understand you, and rose: for the dancer has his ear in his toes. I leaped toward you, but you fled back from my leap, and the tongue of your fleeing, flying hair licked me in its sweep. Away from you I leaped, and from your serpents’ ire; and already you stood there, half turned, your eyes full of desire. With crooked glances you teach me-crooked ways; on crooked ways my foot learns treachery. I fear you near, I love you far; your flight lures me, your seeking cures me: I suffer, but what would I not gladly suffer for you? You, whose coldness fires, whose hatred seduces, whose flight binds, whose scorn inspires: Who would not hate you, you great binder, entwiner, temptress, seeker, and finder? Who would not love you, you innocent, impatient, wind-swift, child-eyed sinner? Whereto are you luring me now, you never-tame extreme? And now you are fleeing from me again, you sweet wildcat and ingrate! I dance after you, I follow wherever your traces linger. Where are you? Give me your hand! Or only one finger! Here are caves and thickets; we shall get lost. Stop! Stand still! Don’t you see owls and bats whirring past? You owl! You bat! Intent to confound! Where are we? Such howling and yelping you have learned from a hound. Your lovely little white teeth are gnashing at me; out of a curly little mane your evil eyes are flashing at me. That is a dance up high and down low: I am the hunter; would you be my dog or my doe? Alongside me now! And swift, you malicious leaping belle! Now up and over there! Alas, as I leaped I fell. Oh, see me lying there, you prankster, suing for grace. I should like to walk with you in a lovelier place. Love’s paths through silent bushes, past many-hued plants. Or there along that lake: there goldflsh swim and dance. You are weary now? Over there are sunsets and sheep: when shepherds play on their flutes-is it not lovely to sleep? You are so terribly weary? I’ll carry you there; just let your arms sink. And if you are thirsty-! I have got something, but your mouth does not want it to drink. Oh, this damned nimble, supple snake and slippery witch! Where are you? In my face two red blotches from your hand itch. I am verily weary of always being your sheepish shepherd. You witch, if I have so far sung to you, now you shall cry. Keeping time with my whip, you shall dance and cry! Or have I forgotten the whip? Not I!

Walter Kaufmann translation from


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