The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam. The vault yet blazes with the sun Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome Whose gladiators shock and shun As the blue night devours them, crested comb Of sleep's dead sea That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!
So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame Into my bowels; my blood's bewitched; My brain's afloat with ecstasy of shame. That tearing pain is gone, enriched By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same Myself is gone Sucked by the dragon down below death's horizon.
III I woke from this. I lay upon the lawn; They had thrown roses on the moss With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn, My lord and I; God sailed across The sky in's galleon of amber, drawn By singing winds While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.
All day my lover deigned to murder me, Linking his kisses in a chain About my neck; demon-embroidery! Bruises like far-ff mountains stain The valley of my body of ivory! Then last came sleep. I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?
Nay, for I wept enough --- more sacred tears! --- When first he pinned me, gripped My flesh, and as a stallion that rears, Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped; Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears; Sucked out my life And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of wife.
I will not weep; nay, I will follow him Perchance he is not far, Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim Depth, where the evening star May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky's rim He makes his prayer To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.
I rose to seek him. First my footsteps faint Pressed the starred moss; but soon I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint, Into the wood, my mind. The moon Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint Hardly one ray Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.
I wandered, crying on my Lord. I wandered Eagerly seeking everywhere. The stories of life that on my lips he squandered Grew into shrill cries of despair, Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered Fled into space --- Like to a demon-king's was grown my maiden face!
At last I came unto the well, my soul In that still glass, I saw no sign Of him, and yet --- what visions there uproll To cloud that mirror-soul of mine? Above my head there screams a flying scroll Whose word burnt through My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.
For in that scroll was written how the globe Of space became; of how the light Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe Of glory; of how One most white Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe Of his right Ear, So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.
Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell, An incantation, a device Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible Wakes from its wilderness of ice To flame, whereby the very core of hell Bursts from its rind, Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.
So then I saw my fault; I plunged within The well, and brake the images That I had made, as I must make - Men spin The webs that snare them - while the knee Bend to the tyrant God - or unto Sin The lecher sunder! Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?
It matters not. Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask! Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep! In vain we labour at the loathsome task Not knowing if we wake or sleep; But in the end we lift the plumed casque Of the dead warrior; Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.
Then I returned into myself, and took All in my arms, God's universe: Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook His dumbness pregnant with a curse. I made me ink, and in a little book I wrote one word That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.
It detonated. Nature, God, mankind Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once Blended, in one annihilation blind Were rent into a myriad of suns. Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind Stood in the abyss, Belching a Law for "That" more awful than for "This."
Vain was the toil. So then I left the wood And came unto the still black sea, That oily monster of beatitude! ('Hath "Thee" for "Me," and "Me" for "Thee!") There as I stood, a mask of solitude Hiding a face Wried as a satyr's, rolled that ocean into space.
Then did I build an altar on the shore Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round With star-fish. Thither a green flame I bore Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core Was trembling steel Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.
With that a goat came running from the cave That lurked below the tall white cliff. Thy name! cried I. The answer that gave Was but one tempest-whisper - "If!" Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave; For on soul's curtain Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!
So then I caught that goat up in a kiss. And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan! Then all this body's wealth of ambergris, (Narcissus-scented flesh of man!) I burnt before him in the sacrifice; For he was sure - Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!
Wherefore, when madness took him at the end, He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt; And that which inward did for ever tend Came at the last to have come out; And I who had the World and God to friend Found all three foes! Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!
Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein; So they were not, and it was not. As who should sweat his soul out through the skin And find (sad fool!) he had begot All that without him that he had left in, And in himself All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!
But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared. Him then I strove to woo, to win, Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard, Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin, By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird That only I Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.
So still I conquered, and the vision passed. Yet still was beaten, for I knew Myself was He, Himself, the first and last; And as an unicorn drinks dew From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast Into the mire; For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.
More; in this journey I had clean forgotten The quest, my lover. But the tomb Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten, Proved in the end to be my womb Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten A little child To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!
This child hath not one hair upon his head, But he hath wings instead of ears. No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed Within him on the ordered sphere Of nature that he hideth; and in stead Of mouth he hath One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!
Also his nostrils are shut up; for he Hath not the need of any breath; Nor can the curtain of eternity Cover that head with life or death. So all his body, a slim almond-tree, Knoweth no bough Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.
This thought I bred within my bowels, I am. I am in him, as he in me; And like a satyr ravishing a lamb So either seems, or as the sea Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram Beats its own head Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.
Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn! Pile me the roses and the thorns, Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn! He may return. A million morns May follow that first dire daemonic dawn When he did split My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!
So I am stretched out naked to the knife, My whole soul twitching with the stress Of the expected yet surprising strife, A martyrdom of blessedness. Though Death came, I could kiss him into life; Though Life came, I Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!
Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam, Am also none of these at all; For now that cosmic chaos of I AM Bursts like a bubble. Mystical The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame Woven therein To be a sign to them who yet have never been.
The universe I measured with my rod. The blacks were balanced with the whites; Satan dropped down even as up soared God; Whores prayed and danced with anchorites. So in my book the even matched the odd: No word I wrote Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.
This also I seal up. Read thou herein Whose eyes are blind! Thou may'st behold Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin All ways) a point of static gold. Then may'st thou out therewith, and fit it in That extreme spher Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.