Samuel Palmer prepares to etch " The Lonely Tower ". by Ian Emberson
I must return
to that valley of vision,
gather again to me
flocks, crescent moon and star;
God - let the last lights burn
at this down-dusking of heaven's intermission,
grant a rebirth to things I used to see
seeming so close - yet known to be so far.
Long since I knocked
at the Interpreter's door,
explained whence I came
and what I hoped to find;
with kindred spirits flocked
to him, and asked of the path that lay before -
how to win valid praise ( avoiding shame )
we who were young - vigorous - yet so blind.
Now in tired age
sharpening my needles
rubbing herbs on my forehead
to wake my brains ! -
yet - if it evokes that sage
( farcical though it be ) - if it inveigles
my failing soul to final glimpse of Godhead
it is enough - recompense for all pains.
Cut image now
wax hold my dream,
and let the acid bite
and show its power;
my hand is on the plough
which cut deep furrows to hold the harvest's sheen;
tremblingly I vision this final light,
and place it high in the lonely tower.