The bleak fields are asleep,
My heart alone wakes;
The evening in the harbour
Down his red sails takes.
Night, guardian of dreams,
Now wanders through the land;
The moon, a lily white,
Blossoms within her hand.
How came, how came from out thy night
Mary, so much light
And so much gloom:
Who was thy bridegroom?
Thou callest, thou callest and thou hast forgot
That thou the same art not
Who came to me
In thy Virginity.
I am still so blossoming, so young.
How shall I go on tiptoe
From childhood to Annunciation
Through the dim twilight
Into thy Garden.
THE BOOK OF PICTURES
I am like a flag unfurled in space,
I scent the oncoming winds and must bend with them,
While the things beneath are not yet stirring,
While doors close gently and there is silence in the chimneys
And the windows do not yet tremble and the dust is still heavy-
Then I feel the storm and am vibrant like the sea
And expand and withdraw into myself
And thrust myself forth and am alone in the great storm.
The leaves fall, fall as from far,
Like distant gardens withered in the heavens;
They fall with slow and lingering descent.
And in the nights the heavy Earth, too, falls
From out the stars into the Solitude.
Thus all doth fall. This hand of mine must fall
And lo! the other one:-it is the law.
But there is One who holds this falling
Infinitely softly in His hands.
Whoever weeps somewhere out in the world
Weeps without cause in the world
Weeps over me.
Whoever laughs somewhere out in the night
Laughs without cause in the night
Laughs at me.
Whoever wanders somewhere in the world
Wanders in vain in the world
Wanders to me.
Whoever dies somewhere in the world
Dies without cause in the world
Looks at me.
They all have tired mouths
And luminous, illimitable souls;
And a longing (as if for sin)
Trembles at times through their dreams.
They all resemble one another,
In God's garden they are silent
Like many, many intervals
In His mighty melody.
But when they spread their wings
They awaken the winds
That stir as though God
With His far-reaching master hands
Turned the pages of the dark book of Beginning.
Solitude is like a rain
That from the sea at dusk begins to rise;
It floats remote across the far-off plain
Upward into its dwelling-place, the skies,
Then o'er the town it slowly sinks again.
Like rain it softly falls at that dim hour
When ghostly lanes turn toward the shadowy morn;
When bodies weighed with satiate passion's power
Sad, disappointed from each other turn;
When men with quiet hatred burning deep
Together in a common bed must sleep-
Through the gray, phantom shadows of the dawn
Lo! Solitude floats down the river wan ...
KINGS IN LEGENDS
Kings in old legends seem
Like mountains rising in the evening light.
They blind all with their gleam,
Their loins encircled are by girdles bright,
Their robes are edged with bands
Of precious stones-the rarest earth affords-
With richly jeweled hands
They hold their slender, shining, naked swords.
The Knight rides forth in coat of mail
Into the roar of the world.
And here is Life: the vines in the vale
And friend and foe, and the feast in the hall,
And May and the maid, and the glen and the grail;
God's flags afloat on every wall
In a thousand streets unfurled.
Beneath the armour of the Knight
Behind the chain's black links
Death crouches and thinks and thinks:
"When will the sword's blade sharp and bright
Forth from the scabbard spring
And cut the network of the cloak
Enmeshing me ring on ring-
When will the foe's delivering stroke
Set me free
I wish I might become like one of these
Who, in the night on horses wild astride,
With torches flaming out like loosened hair
On to the chase through the great swift wind ride.
I wish to stand as on a boat and dare
The sweeping storm, mighty, like flag unrolled
In darkness but with helmet made of gold
That shimmers restlessly. And in a row,
Behind me in the dark, ten men that glow
With helmets that are restless, too, like mine,
Now old and dull, now clear as glass they shine.
One stands by me and blows a blast apace
On his great flashing trumpet and the sound
Shrieks through the vast black solitude around
Through which, as through a wild mad dream we race.
The houses fall behind us on their knees,
Before us bend the streets and them we gain,
The great squares yieled to us and them we seize-
And on our steeds rush like the roar of rain.
Whosoever thou art! Out in the evening roam,
Out from thy room thou know'st in every part,
And far in the dim distance leave thy home,
Whosoever thou art.
Lift thine eyes which lingering see
The shadows on the foot-worn threshold fall,
Lift thine eyes slowly to the great dark tree
That stands against heaven, solitary, tall,
And thou hast visioned Life, its meanings rise
Like words that in the silence clearer grow;
As they unfold before thy will to know
Gently withdraw thine eyes-
Strange violin! Dost thou follow me?
In many foreign cities, far away,
Thy lone voice spoke to me like memory.
Do hundreds play thee, or does but one play?
Are there in all great cities tempest-tossed
Men who would seek the rivers but for thee,
Who, but for thee, would be forever lost?
Why drifts thy lonely voice always to me?
Why am I the neighbour always
Of those who force to sing thy trembling strings?
Life is more heavy-thy song says-
Than the vast, heavy burden of all things.