Amor Dei Intellectualis (Baruch Spinoza)

by Nikolai Bukharin

The quiet flame
Of his glowing dark eyes.
The deep soul's voice,
. . . Full worthy of greatness.

His mathematical, crystal-clear mind
Aspired to mountainous heights.
He destroyed the grey blocks of false belief
With his high-ranging thought's resplendent logic.

He revealed that Substance is one
In the multiplicity of things,
Reconciling Spirit and Matter
To benefit future generations.

The sharpened daggers of his thought
Still glitter brightly to this day,
Gifts of true genius that scraped
Away the scabs of superstition.

Hounded he was from every side
By the dogs of synagogue and church,
Still with his pale and slender hands
He kept to his work of grinding lenses,
To live, to think, to go on fighting—
He's not about to let them crush his thoughts.

In solitude proud he ends his days,
Still master of his spiritual forces.
His spirit, clear-eyed and majestic,
Stands covered with quiet glory.

(13 August 1937)

SOURCE: Bukharin, Nikolai. “Amor Dei Intellectualis (Baruch Spinoza),” in The Prison Poems of Nikolai Bukharin: Transformation of the World (Verse about the Ages, and about People), translated by George Shriver (Seagull Books, Calcutta India, 2009), pp. 216-217.

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