A life of intensities wide, immune
Floats behind the earth and her life-fret,
A magic of realms mastered by spell and rune,
Grandiose, blissful, coloured, increate.
A music there wanders mortal ear
Hears not, seizing, intimate, remote,
Wide-winged in soul-spaces, fire-clear,
Heaping note on enrapturing new note.
Forms deathless there triumph, hues divine
Thrill with nets of glory the moved air;
Each sense is an ecstasy, love the sign
Of one outblaze of godhead that two share.
The peace of the senses, the senses’ stir
On one harp are joined mysteries; pain
Transmuted is ravishment’s minister,
A high note and a fiery refrain.
All things are a harmony faultless, pure;
Grief is not nor stain-wound of desire;
The heart-beats are a cadence bright and sure
Of Joy’s quick steps, too invincible to tire.
A Will there, a Force, a magician Mind
Moves, and builds at once its delight-norms,
The marvels it seeks for surprised, outlined,
Hued, alive, a cosmos of fair forms.
Sounds, colours, joy-flamings. Life lies here
Dreaming, bound to the heavens of its goal,
In the clasp of a Power that enthrals to sheer
Bliss and beauty body and rapt soul.
My spirit sank drowned in the wonder surge:
Screened, withdrawn was the greatness it had sought;
Lost was the storm-stress and the warrior urge,
Lost the titan winging of the thought.
It lay at ease in a sweetness of heaven-sense
Delivered from grief, with no need left to aspire,
Free, self-dispersed in voluptuous innocence,
Lulled and borne into roseate cloud-fire.
But suddenly there soared a dateless cry,
Deep as Night, imperishable as Time;
It seemed Death’s dire appeal to Eternity,
Earth’s outcry to the limitless Sublime.
“O high seeker of immortality,
Is there not, ineffable, a bliss
Too vast for these finite harmonies,
Too divine for the moment’s unsure kiss?
“Arms taking to a voiceless supreme delight,
Life that meets the Eternal with close breast,
An unwalled mind dissolved in the Infinite,
Force one with unimaginable rest?
“I, Earth, have a deeper power than Heaven;
My lonely sorrow surpasses its rose-joys,
A red and bitter seed of the raptures seven; —
My dumbness fills with echoes of a far Voice.
“By me the last finite, yearning, strives
To reach the last infinity’s unknown,
The Eternal is broken into fleeting lives
And Godhead pent in the mire and the stone.”
Dissolving the kingdoms of happy ease
Rocked and split and faded their dream-chime.
All vanished; ungrasped eternities
Sole survived and Timelessness seized Time.
Earth’s heart was felt beating below me still,
Veiled, immense, unthinkable above
My consciousness climbed like a topless hill,
Crossed seas of Light to epiphanies of Love.
Notes on Text
15 November 1933. There are four handwritten and three typed manuscripts. The typed manuscripts are dated “15.11.33”.