The Unconquered Air, and Other Poems (1912)/Éastre

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For works with similar titles, see Easter.
For other versions of this work, see Éastre.

ÉASTRE

I, who am ever young,
Am she whom Earth hath sung
From the far ages when from death awaking
She felt the dawn of life within her breaking—
A strange and inexperienced delight—
That warned the desert places of her night,
And, after bondage long,
Left her divinely free
To worship with an ecstasy,
Voiceless, that yet was song!


I am that she, Astarte named,
By proud Phœnicia and Assyria claimed,
Adored by Babylon and Naucratis.
From the moon, my throne of bliss,
On famed Hieropolis
Where stood my temple sanctified and hoary,
I poured such floods of silver glory
That mortals—blest my palest beams to see—
Fell prone upon the earth and worshiped me!


I am Aurora—goddess of the dawn!
To heaven in my orient car updrawn,
While wingéd joys fly after,
I part with roseate hand the curtained dark.
Mid bird-songs and celestial laughter,
I perfume all the æther with my breath,
And putting by the envious clouds of Death,
With my insistent yearning
Rekindle the sun's fire and set it burning.


Persephone am I—the Spring!
Whom all things celebrate and sing.
When glad from Hades' sombre home
Back to the dear, dear earth I come,
The gods themselves, my way befriending,
Look down on me with shining eyes benign,
And grant that, to my mother's arms ascending,
Of miracles the loveliest shall be mine.


Howe'er men speak my name
I ever am the same,—
In herb and tree and vine and blossoming flower,
Regenerating, consecrating power,
Youth am I and delight.
Astarte or Aurora, still the priest
Of mysteries beneficently bright.
The vivifying glory of the East,
The Spring, in vesture of transparent dyes
'Broidered with blossoms and with butterflies,
The door that leads from gloomy vasts of Death,—
I resurrection am!—new life! new breath!