“The Journey” and “Lucifer’s Monologue” by Aivar Lembit

Read the original Estonian version here. To discuss this and other finalists, visit Mormon Lit Lab.

“The Journey”

written by Aivar Lembit
translated by James Goldberg

We are on a journey.
We are pure:
flowing waters
cannot remain

In a blue jug,
wounded feelings settle
like poison on our table:
let’s go
before we fill up,
let’s escape
the lull of the everyday.

We are real.
We are free:
blacksmiths forging
our own destiny.

We are strong.
We are alone:
on a path
pressed between
the steps of the soul.

On a wonderful expedition
into the eternal everyday:
toward the western sunset
and a Kingdom worn ragged
by our rhymes.

“Lucifer’s Monologue”

written by Aivar Lembit
translated by James Goldberg

This morning, Joy packed
her bag, pulled on some
frayed, faded, fashionable
jeans. She laughed
and waved—
then along came Sorrow,
who watched me reproachfully,
and sneaked in a few tears
that felt like a horse’s bit in
my mouth.

At night, I heard someone
fumbling at the door.
There were no thieves there,
just Joy, returned from a
worldwide journey
with wide eyes.
Sorrow saw it;
I let them in and locked the door.
We were three:
I fed them with the blades
found in the depths of my soul,
dropped into their hearts
the germs of envy.

Joy put Sorrow into song,
Sorrow put Joy back in the picture.

No one touched me
I was just a soul,
Accuser in court,
reporting before the Father.

I wrote down their every mistake,
liberating them from their
angel-souls with shining,
virtuous bodies.
I taught them
the world’s wisdom:
hard-working obedience,
obedient hard work,
and they praised me.

We became more and more alike:
Joy became Sorrow and Sorrow, Joy.
Life became beautiful.
Order was happiness
and it was everywhere:
order in the house,
order in the sauna.
Your own river
and your own mountain…

what else could you want?
Life always up and down,
like a roller coaster?
Heights and depths
like in American mountains?