Mandragora/At the End of the World

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At the End of the World
by John Cowper Powys
Published in Mandragora (1917)

THE patient earth, the breathless trees,
    Have listened here for centuries.
Have listened under the silver moon
  To this little streamlet's flowing.
Hearing nothing in its going
    Save its own enchanted tune.

Oh, how silent on moss and stone
    Sleeps the whole world's bitter wrong!
While the shadow of love, lying alone.
    Listens to the streamlet's song.

At the end of the world this place might be!
    So hushed are the shadows, so hushed the grass;
So hushed are the hemlocks of mystery,
    Waiting for feet that never pass!

Listen! A voice out of the night!
    A voice from the silence — a passionate cry —
Beautiful, terrible, infinite!
    The voice of a god who comes to die.

And the patient earth and the breathless trees
    Turn to that voice; and the listening air
Yearns to it, thro' the immensities.
    As tho' God Himself were dying there.

Only the little streamlet flows
    Beneath the hemlocks, beneath the moon;
Hearing nothing as it goes,
    Save its own enchanted tune.

And silent, silent, on moss and stone.
    Sleeps the whole world's bitter wrong;
While the shadow of love, lying alone,
    Listens to the streamlet's song.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1963, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.