To the Darkness
Thou hast taken the light of many suns,
And they are sealed in the prison-house of gloom.
Even as candle-flames
Hast thou taken the souls of men
With winds from out a hollow place;
They are hid in the abyss as in a sea,
And the gulfs are over them,
As the weight of many mountains,
As the depth of many seas;
Thy shields are between them and the light;
They are past its burden and bitterness;
The spears of the day shall not touch them,
The chains of the sun shall not hale them forth.
Many men there were,
In the days that are now of thy realm,
That thou hast scaled with the seal of many deeps;
Their feet were as eagles' wings in the quest of Truth-—
Aye, mightily they desired her face,
Hunting her through the lands of life
As men in the blankness of the waste
That seek for a buried treasure-house of kings.
But against them were the veils
That hands may not rend nor sabers pierce;
And Truth was withheld from them
As a water that is seen afar at dawn,
And at noon is lost in the sand
Before the feet of the traveller.
The world was a barrenness,
And the gardens were as the waste.
And they turned them to the adventure of the dark,
To the travelling of the land without roads,
To the sailing of the sea that hath no beacons.
Why have they not returned ?
Their quest hath found end in thee,
Or surely they had fared
Once more to the place whence they came,
As men that have journeyed to a fruitless land.
They have looked on thy face,
And to them it is the countenance of Truth.
Thy silence is sweeter to them than the voice of love,
Thine embrace more dear than the clasp of the beloved.
They are fed with the emptiness past the veil,
And their hunger is filled;
They have found the waters of peace,
And are athirst no more.
They know a rest that is deeper than the gulfs,
And whose seal is unbreakable as the seal of the void;
They sleep the sleep of the suns,
And the vast is a garment unto them.