Poems (Coates 1916)/Volume I/The "Penseur"
(ON SEEING THE FAMOUS STATUE)
RODIN'S it was—this vital thing, this Soul,
This striving force imprisoned in clay,
This monster Shape inert, held in control
By that it doth enshrine:
Rodin's it was; but, ah, to-day
It is the world's—and mine!
What mystery here is meant?
Is this Time's great event—
This creature earthward sent
With subtle might against himself to strive—
To struggle upward from the brutish thing
And, ruling the blood's rioting,
Keep the celestial spark in him alive?
What miracle is meant,
Suggested by this frame relaxed and bent?
What wonders to this Titan are revealed,
Sitting enisled and motionless as if
Lone on some cloud-invested Teneriffe?
Inward and inward still his vision sinks.
What does he here?—He thinks!
Thought is the travail that absorbs him thus;
Himself the workshop, most mysterious,
Wherein are wrought what human strengths there be.
Detached, aloof, with eyes that seem to stare
Beyond us and beyond apparent things,
He gazes far into futurity,
And doth with gods unbourned horizons share.
For thoughts, upborne on never-tiring wings,
Boldly adventure regions foul and fair:
To Hades sink, then rise to Heaven again,
Still finding everywhere
The mystic threads whereof are joy and pain
Shaped in the penetralia of the brain!