A Persian Lesson
For his o'erarching and last lesson the greybeard sufi, In the fresh scent of the morning in the open air, On the slope of a teeming Persian rose-garden, Under an ancient chestnut-tree wide spreading its branches, Spoke to the young priests and students. "Finally my children, to envelop each word, each part of the rest, Allah is all, all, all—immanent in every life and object, May-be at many and many-a-more removes—yet Allah, Allah, Allah is there. "Has the estray wander'd far? Is the reason-why strangely hidden? Would you sound below the restless ocean of the entire world? Would you know the dissatisfaction? the urge and spur of every life; The something never still'd—never entirely gone? the invisible need of every seed? "It is the central urge in every atom, (Often unconscious, often evil, downfallen,) To return to its divine source and origin, however distant, Latent the same in subject and in object, without one exception."
If all things are in common among friends, the most precious is Wisdom. What can Juno give which thou canst not receive from Wisdom? What mayest thou admire in Venus which thou mayest not also contemplate in Wisdom? Her beauty is not small, for the lord of all things taketh delight in her. Her I have loved and diligently sought from my youth up.
–Giordano Bruno, courtesy of Wikiquote
A Voice from Death
In cabin'd ships at sea, The boundless blue on every side expanding, With whistling winds and music of the waves, the large imperious waves, Or some lone bark buoy'd on the dense marine, Where joyous full of faith, spreading white sails, She cleaves the ether mid the sparkle and the foam of day, or under many a star at night, By sailors young and old haply will I, a reminiscence of the land, be read, In full rapport at last. Here are our thoughts, voyagers' thoughts, Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by them be said, The sky o'erarches here, we feel the undulating deck beneath our feet, We feel the long pulsation, ebb and flow of endless motion, The tones of unseen mystery, the vague and vast suggestions of the briny world, the liquid-flowing syllables, The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy rhythm, The boundless vista and the horizon far and dim are all here, And this is ocean's poem. Then falter not O book, fulfil your destiny, You not a reminiscence of the land alone, You too as a lone bark cleaving the ether, purpos'd I know not whither, yet ever full of faith, Consort to every ship that sails, sail you! Bear forth to them folded my love, (dear mariners, for you I fold it here in every leaf;) Speed on my book! spread your white sails my little bark athwart the imperious waves, Chant on, sail on, bear o'er the boundless blue from me to every sea, This song for mariners and all their ships.
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When his hour for death had come, He slowly rais'd himself from the bed on the floor, Drew on his war-dress, shirt, leggings, and girdled the belt around his waist, Call'd for vermilion paint (his looking-glass was held before him,) Painted half his face and neck, his wrists, and back-hands. Put the scalp-knife carefully in his belt—then lying down, resting moment, Rose again, half sitting, smiled, gave in silence his extended hand to each and all, Sank faintly low to the floor (tightly grasping the tomahawk handle,) Fix'd his look on wife and little children—the last: (And here a line in memory of his name and death.)
When the Full-Grown Poet Came
When the full-grown poet came, Out spake pleased Nature (the round impassive globe, with all its shows of day and night,) saying, He is mine; But out spake too the Soul of man, proud, jealous and unreconciled, Nay he is mine alone; —Then the full-grown poet stood between the two, and took each by the hand; And to-day and ever so stands, as blender, uniter, tightly holding hands, Which he will never release until he reconciles the two, And wholly and joyously blends them.
A Twilight Song
As I sit in twilight late alone by the flickering oak-flame, Musing on long-pass'd war-scenes—of the countless buried unknown soldiers, Of the vacant names, as unindented air's and sea's—the unreturn'd, The brief truce after battle, with grim burial-squads, and the deep-fill'd trenches Of gather'd from dead all America, North, South, East, West, whence they came up, From wooded Maine, New-England's farms, from fertile Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, From the measureless West, Virginia, the South, the Carolinas, Texas, (Even here in my room-shadows and half-lights in the noiseless flickering flames, Again I see the stalwart ranks on-filing, rising—I hear the rhythmic tramp of the armies;) You million unwrit names all, all—you dark bequest from all the war, A special verse for you—a flash of duty long neglected—your mystic roll strangely gather'd here, Each name recall'd by me from out the darkness and death's ashes, Henceforth to be, deep, deep within my heart recording, for many future year, Your mystic roll entire of unknown names, or North or South, Embalm'd with love in this twilight song.
Sounds of the Winter
Sounds of the winter too, Sunshine upon the mountains—many a distant strain From cheery railroad train—from nearer field, barn, house, The whispering air—even the mute crops, garner'd apples, corn, Children's and women's tones—rhythm of many a farmer and of flail, An old man's garrulous lips among the rest, Think not we give out yet, Forth from these snowy hairs we keep up yet the lilt.
A Christmas Greeting
Welcome, Brazilian brother—thy ample place is ready; A loving hand—a smile from the north—a sunny instant hall! (Let the future care for itself, where it reveals its troubles, impedimentas, Ours, ours the present throe, the democratic aim, the acceptance and the faith;) To thee to-day our reaching arm, our turning neck—to thee from us the expectant eye, Thou cluster free! thou brilliant lustrous one! thou, learning well, The true lesson of a nation's light in the sky, (More shining than the Cross, more than the Crown,) The height to be superb humanity.