ALL the hot summer I lay in the darkness,
Calling on the winds to pass by me and slay me,
Slay me with light in the heat of the summer;
But the winds had no answer for one who was fallen
Asleep by the wayside, with no lyre to charm them,
No voice of the lyre, and no song to charm them.
Late as I lay there asleep by the wayside,
I heard a voice call to me, low in the silence,
There in the darkness the summer called to me:
“thou who art hidden in the green silence,
Let a time of quietness come now upon thee.
Lay thine head on the earth and slumber on her bosom:
Time and the gods shall pass darkling before thee.”
There in the silence I lay, and I heeded
The slow voice that called me, the grave hand that beckoned,
That beckoned me on through the hall of the silence.
There in the silence there was a green goddess,
Folden her wings, and her hands dumbly folden,
Laying in her lay, as though asleep in the darkness.
Then did I hail her: “O mother, my mother,
Syren of the silence, dumb voice of the darkness,
How shall I have speech of Thee, who know not Thy speaking?
How shall I behold Thee, who art hidden in the darkness?
Lo! I bend mine eyes before Thee, and no sign dost Thou vouchsafe me;
I whisper love-words before Thee, and I know not if Thou hear me,
Thou who art the darling of the Night and of the Silence;
Yellow art Thou as the sunlight through the corn-fields,
Bright as the sun-dawn on the snow-clad mountains,
Slow as the voice of the great green gliding River.
Calmly in Thy silence am I come to rest me,
Now from the world the light hath slowly faded;
I have left the groves of Pan that I might gaze upon Thee,
Gaze upon the Virgin that before Time was begotten,
Mother of Chronos, and the old gods before him,
Child of the womb of the Silence, whose father
Is the unknown breath of the most secret Goddess,
Whose name whoso hath heard is smitten to madness.
“Now do I come before Thee in Thy temple,
With offerings from the oak-woods and the breath of the water
That girds the earth with a girdle of green starlight;
And all the austerity of the brooding summer,
And all the wonder of the starlit spaces
That stare down awesomely upon the lonely marshes,
And the bogs with sucking lips, and the pools that charm the wanderer
Till he forgets the world, and rushes to sleep upon them.”
And still there was silence, and the voice of the world swept by me,
Making in mine ears the noise of tumbling waters;
But two voices I heard, and they spake one to the other:
“Who stands with downcast eyes in the temple of our Lady?”
And the answer: “A wanderer from the world who hath sought the halls of silence;
Yet knoweth he not the Bride of the Darkness,
Her of the sable wings, and eyes of terrible blindness
That see through the worlds and find nothing and nothing,
Who would smite the worlds to peace, save that so she would perish,
And cannot, for that she is a goddess silent and immortal,
Utterly immortal in the gods’ eternal darkness.”
And the first voice cried: “Oh, that we might perish,
And become as pearls of blackness on the breast of the silence,
Lending the waste places of the world our darkness,
That the vision might burst in the brain of the seer,
And we be formed anew, and reborn in the light world.”
But the other voice was silent, and the noise of waters swept me
Back into the world, and I lay asleep on a hill-side.
Bearing for evermore the heart of a goddess,
And the brain of a man, and the wings of the morning
Clipped by the shears of the silence; so must I wander lonely,
Nor know of the light till I enter into the darkness.