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Poem by Eleanor Farjeon


440 B.C.


(Friday, September 24th, 1909)

More than my sons that day my fathers were mighty within me!
Walking the Past alone nothing I found there unknown.

Time like a whirlwind blew where I stood by the Tree of the Ages:
Boughs that in years did abound scattered their burthen aground,

Till in immense liberation divinely austere and familiar,
Naked of over-ripe fruit, knew I the Stem and the Root.

Under the hand of the Sculptor, the carver of visible music,
Felt I an infinite Truth, saw I immutable Youth.

Out of the marble a sparkle of motion and delicate gesture
Even as a rose unsheathed blossom-like started and breathed:

Even as animate light, a tremulous prism, made captive
Once in an æon whose spark leaps to us out of the dark.

Swift on a wonderful rapture upswung, the eternal procession
Joined I by some great right sharing the ages' delight.

Deathless singing there sounded and there moved life unarrested,
I was the body and soul, I was the part and the whole.

I was that boy's fine strength restraining his quivering charger,
Ay, and the nostril's fire quickened by curbèd desire.

I was this rhythmic strain of melodic, ineffable beauty
Maidenly garments reveal singing from shoulder to heel.

Well I remember how once when my sandal-latchet was loosened,
While the procession delayed, stooping the knot I re-made.

Greater and less was I than the flower divinely unconscious,
Golden Youth flowing by scarce asking Whither and Why:

I was both seed and fruit of it: I was the beast sacrificial,
Garlanded ignorance led forth to be glorious dead:

Also the elders within whose bosoms the torchlight of duty
Mellowed by Service and Time burned in aloofness sublime:

More than these things! the thing they aspired to, the ultimate Godhead,
Like a half-realised dream lifting to clasp the Supreme,

Crown and star of this Life-Stream endlessly singing and dancing
Till it attain the Most High, Knowledge and Wisdom was I!

Pheidias! under thy hand the unquenchable spark that Myself is,
Man and his Father and Son, all indissolubly one,

After great labour of years at last grew a visible wonder
Where men a-gaze at the shrine finally know them divine.

Ay! though To-morrow become the Wind in the Tree of the Ages,
Dust of my body to spread wide with the dust of the dead,

In thy golden procession eternally singing and dancing,
Let what may be the rest, stand I for ever expressed.



Eleanor Farjeon


Eleanor Farjeon's other poems:
  1. When You Say
  2. Sonnets. 11. A few of us who faltered as we fared
  3. Sonnets. 14. Now I have love again and life again
  4. Three Miles to Penn
  5. Revolt


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