Thursday, February 5, 2015

Winter sunrise by Robert Laurence Binyon

It is early morning within this room; without, 
Dark and damp; without and within, stillness 
Waiting for day: not a sound but a listening air. 

Yellow jasmine, delicate on stiff branches 
Stands in a Tuscan pot to delight the eye 
In spare December's patient nakedness. 

Suddenly, softly, as if at a breath breathed 
On the pale wall, a magical apparition, 
The shadow of the jasmine, branch and blossom! 

It was not there, it is there, in a perfect image; 
And all is changed. It is like a memory lost 
Returning without a reason into the mind; 

And it seems to me that the beauty of the shadow 
Is more beautiful than the flower; a strange beauty, 
Pencilled and silently deepening to distinctness. 

As a memory stealing out of the mind's slumber, 
A memory floating up from a dark water, 
Can be more beautiful than the thing remembered. 

I turn to the window, and out of a low cloud 
Is a brimming--over of brightness; dazzling the eye 
With levelled brilliance, fiery--fresh, the Sun. 

As in absent thought with dreaming eyes I gaze 
On sudden shadows gliding across the rime 
A vision comes before me in utter silence 

The earth is moving, the earth is rolling over 
All that is usual all that goes unquestioned 
is taken from me 
wider, wider the doors of vision are opening 

Horizon opening into unguessed horizons 
And I with the earth am moving into the light 
The earth is moving, the earth is rolling over 
into the light long, long 
shadows of trees run out 
are running across the grass. 

With frosty plains, mountains and curving coasts 
Cities and rivers, forests, burning deserts, 
Seas and the sprinkled islands, passing, passing, 
But all transparent! Under the generous earth 
The careless waters, I see the original fires 
Leaping in spasms, seeking to burst their prison 
And I remember that human eyes have seen 
Solid earth yawn and cities shaken to fragments 
Ocean torn to the bottom and great ships swallowed, 

Now more terrible than those blind convulsions 
Are men at war; on land, on the seas, in the air, 
War, war in the brain, in the obstinate will 
war in the brain, war in the will, war 
No refuge or hiding place anywhere for the mind 
And now I hear everywhere sound of battle 
The seekers after destruction, there is no refuge 
Death, death, death on the earth, in the sea, in the air 
Yet oh, it is a single soul always in the midst 
Each is a single soul. 
O it cannot be, yet it is 

Let me not be so stunned that I cannot feel . . . 
Imagination is but a little cup 
It can hold but a minim part 
Can a little cup contain an ocean? 

My dreaming eyes return 
The flower of winter remembers its own season 
And the beautiful shadow upon the pale wall 
Is imperceptibly moving with ancient earth 
Around the sun that timeless measures sure and silent.

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