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 . Dana

    I AM the tender voice calling 'Away,'
    Whispering between the beatings of the heart,
    And inaccessible in dewy eyes
    I dwell, and all unkissed on lovely lips,
    Lingering between white breasts inviolate,
    And fleeting ever from the passionate touch,
    I shine afar, till men may not divine
    Whether it is the stars or the beloved
    They follow with wrapt spirit. And I weave
    My spells at evening, folding with dim caress,
    Aerial arms and twilight dropping hair,
    The lonely wanderer by wood or shore,
    Till, filled with some deep tenderness, he yields,
    Feeling in dreams for the dear mother heart
    He knew, ere he forsook the starry way,
    And clings there, pillowed far above the smoke
    And the dim murmur from the duns of men.
    I can enchant the trees and rocks, and fill
    The dumb brown lips of earth with mystery,
    Make them reveal or hide the god. I breathe
    A deeper pity than all love, myself
    Mother of all, but without hands to heal:
    Too vast and vague, they know me not. But yet
    I am the heartbreak over fallen things,
    The sudden gentleness that stays the blow,
    And I am in the kiss that foemen give
    Pausing in battle, and in the tears that fall
    Over the vanquished foe, and in the highest;
    Among the Danaan gods, I am the last
    Council of mercy in their hearts where they
    Mete justice from a thousand starry thrones.

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . Remembrance

    THERE were many burning hours on the heart-sweet tide,
    And we passed away from ourselves, forgetting all
    The immortal moods that faded, the god who died,
    Hastening away to the King on a distant call.

    There were ruby dews were shed when the heart was riven,
    And passionate pleading and prayers to the dead we had wronged;
    And we passed away unremembering and unforgiven,
    Hastening away to the King for the peace we longed.

    Love unremembered and heart-ache we left behind,
    We forsook them, unheeding, hastening away in our flight;
    We knew the hearts we had wronged of old we would find
    When we came to the fold of the King for rest in the night

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . Reflections

    HOW shallow is this mere that gleams!
    Its depth of blue is from the skies;
    And from a distant sun the dreams
    And lovely light within your eyes.

    We deem our love so infinite
    Because the Lord is everywhere,
    And love awakening is made bright
    And bathed in that diviner air.

    We go on our enchanted way
    And deem our hours immortal hours,
    Who are but shadow kings that play
    With mirrored majesties and powers.

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . Forgiveness

    AT DUSK the window panes grew grey;
    The wet world vanished in the gloom;
    The dim and silver end of day
    Scarce glimmered through the little room.

    And all my sins were told; I said
    Such things to her who knew not sin—
    The sharp ache throbbing in my head,
    The fever running high within.

    I touched with pain her purity;
    Sin's darker sense I could not bring:
    My soul was black as night to me:
    To her I was a wounded thing.

    I needed love no words could say;
    She drew me softly nigh her chair,
    My head upon her knees to lay,
    With cool hands that caressed my hair.

    She sat with hands as if to bless,
    And looked with grave, ethereal eyes;
    Ensouled by ancient quietness,
    A gentle priestess of the Wise.

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . Blindness

    OUR true hearts are forever lonely:
    A wistfulness is in our thought:
    Our lights are like the dawns which only
    Seem bright to us and yet are not.

    Something you see in me I wis not:
    Another heart in you I guess:
    A stranger's lips—but thine I kiss not,
    Erring in all my tenderness.

    I sometimes think a mighty lover
    Takes every burning kiss we give:
    His lights are those which round us hover:
    For him alone our lives we live.

    Ah, sigh for us whose hearts unseeing
    Point all their passionate love in vain,
    And blinded in the joy of being,
    Meet only when pain touches pain.

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . The Vesture of the Soul

    I PITIED one whose tattered dress
    Was patched, and stained with dust and rain;
    He smiled on me; I could not guess
    The viewless spirit's wide domain.

    He said, 'The royal robe I wear
    Trails all along the fields of light:
    Its silent blue and silver bear
    For gems the starry dust of night.'

    'The breath of joy unceasingly
    Waves to and fro its folds starlit,
    And far beyond earth's misery
    I live and breathe the joy of it.'

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . The Twilight of Earth

    THE wonder of the world is o'er:
    The magic from the sea is gone:
    There is no unimagined shore,
    No islet yet to venture on.
    The Sacred Hazels' blooms are shed,
    The Nuts of Knowledge harvested.

    Oh, what is worth this lore of age
    If time shall never bring us back
    Our battle with the gods to wage
    Reeling along the starry track.
    The battle rapture here goes by
    In warring upon things that die.

    Let be the tale of him whose love
    Was sighed between white Deirdre's breasts,
    It will not lift the heart above
    The sodden clay on which it rests.
    Love once had power the gods to bring
    All rapt on its wild wandering.

    We shiver in the falling dew,
    And seek a shelter from the storm:
    When man these elder brothers knew
    He found the mother nature warm,
    A hearth fire blazing through it all,
    A home without a circling wall.

    We dwindle down beneath the skies,
    And from ourselves we pass away:
    The paradise of memories
    Grows ever fainter day by day.
    The shepherd stars have shrunk within,
    The world's great night will soon begin.

    Will no one, ere it is too late,
    Ere fades the last memorial gleam,
    Recall for us our earlier state?
    For nothing but so vast a dream
    That it would scale the steeps of air
    Could rouse us from so vast despair.

    The power is ours to make or mar
    Our fate as on the earliest morn,
    The Darkness and the Radiance are
    Creatures within the spirit born.
    Yet, bathed in gloom too long, we might
    Forget how we imagined light.

    Not yet are fixed the prison bars:
    The hidden light the spirit owns
    If blown to flame would dim the stars
    And they who rule them from their thrones:
    And the proud sceptred spirits thence
    Would bow to pay us reverence.

    Oh, while the glory sinks within
    Let us not wait on earth behind,
    But follow where it flies, and win
    The glow again, and we may find
    Beyond the Gateways of the Day
    Dominion and ancestral sway.

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . The Parting of Ways

    The skies from black to pearly grey
    Had veered without a star or sun;
    Only a burning opal ray
    Fell on your brow when all was done.

    Aye, after victory, the crown;
    Yet through the fight no word of cheer;
    And what would win and what go down
    No word could help, no light make clear.

    A thousand ages onward led
    Their joys and sorrows to that hour;
    No wisdom weighed, no word was said,
    For only what we were had power.

    There was no tender leaning there
    Of brow to brow in loving mood;
    For we were rapt apart, and were
    In elemental solitude.

    We knew not in redeeming day
    Whether our spirits would be found
    Floating along the starry way,
    Or in the earthly vapours drowned.

    Brought by the sunrise-coloured flame
    To earth, uncertain yet, the while
    I looked at you, there slowly came,
    Noble and sisterly, your smile.

    We bade adieu to love the old;
    We heard another lover then,
    Whose forms are myriad and untold,
    Sigh to us from the hearts of men.

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . Dusk its ash-grey blossoms sheds on violet skies

    DUSK its ash-grey blossoms sheds on violet skies,
    Over twilight mountains where the heart songs rise,
    Rise and fall and fade away from earth to air.
    Earth renews the music sweeter. Oh, come there.
    Come, acushla, come, as in ancient times
    Rings aloud the underland with faery chimes.
    Down the unseen ways as strays each tinkling fleece
    Winding ever onward to a fold of peace,
    So my dreams go straying in a land more fair;
    Half I tread the dew-wet grasses, half wander there.
    Fade your glimmering eyes in a world grown cold;
    Come, acushla, with me to the mountains old.
    There the bright ones call us waving to and fro—
    Come, my children, with me to the ancient go.

    A.E. (George William Russell)

 . The Virgin Mother

    WHO is that goddess to whom men should pray
    But her from whom their hearts have turned away,
    Out of whose virgin being they were born,
    Whose mother nature they have named in scorn
    Calling its holy substance common clay.

    Yet from this so despised earth was made
    The milky whiteness of those queens who swayed
    Their generations with a light caress,
    And from some image of whose loveliness
    The heart built up high heaven when it prayed.

    Lover, your heart, the heart on which it lies,
    Your eyes that gaze, and those alluring eyes,
    Your lips, the lips they kiss, alike had birth
    Within this dark divinity of earth,
    Within this mother being you despise.

    Ah, when I think this earth on which we tread
    Hath borne these blossoms of the lovely dead,
    And made the living heart I love to beat,
    I look with sudden awe beneath my feet
    As you with erring reverence overhead.

    A.E. (George William Russell)


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