Mandragora/Ave Maria

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For works with similar titles, see Ave Maria.
Ave Maria
by John Cowper Powys
Published in Mandragora (1917)

AVE MARIA

HOLLOW spaces, large and deep,
Flow around your quiet sleep.
One would think your dreaming head
Had eternity for its bed!
Oh, how green, for all the night.
Is the floating liquid air.
Full of whispers, full of light.
Vague earth murmurs everywhere!

Listen! Did you hear that sound
In your eyelid-drooping sleep,
Falling thro' the listening night,
Falling, falling? And the earth
Melts in vaporous mist before it,
Melts as if from very birth
It had watched and waited for it!
Listen!

'Tis a petal from the moon
From that cold and chaste moon-flower.
Flung in languid lotus hour.
Like a thought after a tune;
Like a tune after a thought,
Sweet with ecstasy unsought!
And all other lovely things.
Such as shadow-veined moth-wings.
Such as shells from drifting seas.
Such as wild anemones,

Float with it thro' hollow space,
Dark against your white, white face,
Float and flutter and waver now,
Pale against your shadowy brow!
Listen!

Ah! You are listening deep and deep,
And you stir at last in your quiet sleep,
Fall the petals of the moon
To their soft eternal tune,
Thro' the green and hollow night.
All transparent tender things
From their cold creative springs
Fall, fall down into the night.
With a tremulous shy delight.
Listen!
Ave Maria!
The heart must be pierced with a sharp sword,
That would be the heart of the mother of God!


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.