"The Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the present, and the only prophet of that which must be, is that great nature in which we rest, as the earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere; that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man's particular being is contained and made one with all other."
SOFTLY, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me; Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.
As the tall, turbaned Black, incense man Passed the house I called after him And ran out to the street Where at once we smiled Seeing one another And without a word Like a sword that leaps from its lustrous sheath He was swinging his lamp with abundant grace To my head and to my heart and to my feet . . . Self-imparted we swayed Possessed by that One Only the living praise
If I favor the sea and everything that is of the sea, and even favor it most when it angrily contradicts me: If ever that joy of searching is in me that drives sails toward the undiscovered, if a seafarer’s joy is in my joy: If ever my jubilating cried: “The coast disappeared – now the last chain has fallen from me – – infinity roars around me, way out there space and time glitter, well then, what of it old heart!” – Oh how then could I not lust for eternity and for the nuptial ring of rings – the ring of recurrence! Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wanted children, unless it were this woman whom I love: for I love you, oh eternity! For I love you, oh eternity!
I mind how once we lay, such a transparent summer morning; How you settled your head athwart my hips, and gently turn’d over upon me, And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart, And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my feet. … This is the press of a bashful hand—this is the float and odor of hair; This is the touch of my lips to yours—this is the murmur of yearning; This is the far-off depth and height reflecting my own face; This is the thoughtful merge of myself, and the outlet again.
Who turned us thus around, so we, no matter what, have the pose of one who is departing? As he who on the last hill which still shows his whole valley, will turn, halt, pause — so we live, forever taking leave.
Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you, You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,) I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you, All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured, You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me, I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only, You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return, I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone, I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again, I am to see to it that I do not lose you.