Slow in the dawn, a young man, hollow-eyed
from lengthy thought and unrewarding vigils,
is lost in his reflections, contemplating
the sleepless braziers and the silent stills.
He knows that gold, that Proteus, is lurking
in all chance happenings, like destiny;
he knows it hides in the dust along the way,
in the action of the bow, the arm, the arrow.
His occult vision of a secret being
hidden in the stars and in raw earth
echoes that other dream, that everything
is water, the dream of Thales of Miletus.
There's another vision, that of an eternal
God who appears in every single thing,
as Spinoza the geometer explains
in a book more tortuous than all of Hell.
In the vast blue expanses to the west,
the planets are beginning to grow pale.
The alchemist is thinking of his secrets,
the secret laws that link planet and metal.
And while he dreams of finding in the fire
that true gold that will put an end to dying,
God, who knows His alchemy, transforms him
to no one, dust, oblivion.