Our wilderness will be the laughing land,
Where nuts are hung for us, where nodding peas
Are wild enough to press about our knees,
And water fills the hollow of our hand.
My village is the loneliness, and I
Am as the travellers through the Syrian sand,
That for a moment see the warning hand
Of one who breasted up the rock, their spy.
Where is the valiance of the folk who sing
These valiant stories of the world to come?
Which they describe, forsooth! as if it swum
In air and anchored with a yard of string.
Two merchantmen decided they would battle,
To prove at last who sold the finest wares;
And while Mahomet shrieked his call to prayers,
The true Messiah waved his wooden rattle.
Perchance the world is nothing, is a dream,
And every noise the dreamland people say
We sedulously note, and we and they
May be the shadows flung by what we seem.
Zohair the poet sang of loveliness
Which is the flight of things. Oh, meditate
Upon the sorrows of our earthly state,
For what is lovely we may not possess.
Heigho! the splendid air is full of wings,
And they will take us to the—friend, be wise
For if you navigate among the skies
You too may reach the subterranean kings.
Now fear the rose! You travel to the gloom
Of which the roses sing and sing so fair,
And, but for them, you’d have a certain share
In life: your name be read upon the tomb.
There is a tower of silence, and the bell
Moves up—another man is made to be.
For certain years they move in company,
But you, when fails your song do fail as well.
No sword will summon Death, and he will stay
For neither helm nor shield his falling rod.
We are the crooked alphabet of God,
And He will read us ere he wipes away.
How strange that we, perambulating dust,
Should be the vessels of eternal fire,
That such unfading passion of desire
Should be within our fading bodies thrust.
Deep in a silent chamber of the rose There was a fattened worm. He looked around, Espied a relative and spoke at him: It seems to me this world is very good.