A Perfect Pianissimo

Hush to the harps and the hymns! for the soul in my body groans.

I tremble in all my limbs! A fire eats up my bones!

My right hand’s spasm seizes and shatters my moons by scores,

And the sweat of my forehead freezes to white-hot meteors!

I lash the horses of night, and the stars foam forth at their flanks;

All space and time take flight as my chariot tears their ranks.

I drink the milky mist of the starry ways like wine;

I grip God’s beard in my fist, and my axe cleaves gorge and spine;

At sight of my anguish and trouble the heavens answer my will;

The universe breaks like a bubble — and I am lonelier still.

Silence, and horror, the void — these are my feudals to friend!

I, with eternity cloyed, hunger in vain for the end.

Lo! I am shrunk to a breath, a wisp of phantastical air,

A sycophant spurned by Death, a cast-off clout of Despair.

Send but a ripple of song, O singer, to stir my breath!

Send but a note to prolong this langourous lust of Death!

For thou art subtle and swift, beyond my sight as a bird

Loftily loud in the lift, a great grace hardly heard,

(So low am I, my lover!) a beatitude blazoned afar

Inaccessibly high to hover, a dream still more than a star!

And yet I have known thee, known thine head bowed down to thy knee,

Thy loose hair fallen a zone about the middle of me;

Bend didst thou yet lower — incarnate bliss as thou art —

Winding thee slower and slower, yet firmer about mine heart.

Oh but the blast of wonder when mouth with mad mouth met,

And in one dying thunder the manifest sun-world set,

And God brake out ablaze — O sister, born at a birth!

Let us raid the mountainous ways! Let us rape the virgin earth!

Let us set the stars to song! Let us harness the sun for a steed!

Let the streams of time run strong, with life for a water-weed,

And we swim free therein, as the Gods themselves, as They

Who splash the Aeons, and spin sedge-cycles in their play.

Come! Let us soar, let us soar, beyond the abodes of time,

Beyond the skies that are hoar with the blossoms of stars for rime,

Beyond the search of the sun, beyond the abyss of thought,

Beyond the bliss of the One to the land that the Gods call Naught;

There let us rest, let us rest — O the jasmine in your hair

As your head sinks on my breast — have we not rested there?


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