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The Secret Way

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
“A great life, an entire civilization lies just outside the pale of common thought.... Such life is different from any yet imagined.... I see as clearly as the noonday that this is not all. I see other and higher conditions than existence.... The very idea that there is another Idea is something gained.” Stark on the window’s early grey Lined out in squares by casement bars, She saw her lily lift to take The sinking stars. Within the room’s delaying dark Intimate things lay dim and still With all their day-time friendliness Gone false and chill. Her hand upon the coverlet, Her face low in the linen’s cleft, They were as wan as water-flowers By light bereft. And never was bloom brought to her couch But shed the odour of a sigh Because she was as white as they, And they must die. “O Pale, lit deep within the dark Of your young eyes, a stifled light Leaps thin and keen as melody And leavens night. “It is a light that did not burn When you were gay at mart and fair; O Pale, what is that starry fire, Fed unaware?” Then softly she: “I may not tell What other eyes behold in mine; But I have melted night and day In some wild wine. “I may not read the graven cup Exhaustless as a brimming bell Distilling silver; but I drank And all is well. “One morn like this, bitter still, I waited for the early stir Of those who slept the while I watched What muffled wonders were. “I saw my lily on the sill; I saw my mirror on the wall Take light that was not; and I saw My spectral taper tall. “Why I had known these quiet things Since I could speak. Yet suddenly They all touched hands and in one breath They spoke to me. “I may not tell you what they said. The strange part is that I must lie And never tell you what we say—These things and I. “I only know that common things Bear sudden little spirits set Free by the rose of dawn and by Night’s violet.