When first I tried, I could not abide
I craved all spectacles of light, and fire, and will:
Without lightning, cursing overheard, or
The rage of oceans; without my crying
Defiance of the earthly might
And grimly wakened graves,
There could be no magic.
Every light must tend to shape its prism,
I felt: every action to acuteness, every
Effort to a dread asceticism.
My books, and my books, and my books
Did teach me such a false philosophy.
I know not when: but gently did a mist
Descend upon the ocean, whiten it
To a rich obscurity
Until no more was there a sought horizon;
And the mountains where once I had held
Fierce battles against the sky,
All rage and fire, once;
They too fell, those heightened heartaches fell
To the touch of mere atmosphere,
The kiss of clouds,
Clinging to the cool of that soft mist.
I raised my hood, gazed further to it,
And seeing what I did,
I lowered my hand.
Sometimes the dusk of the world
Is everything, and nothing.
And here, I become everyone and no-one.
And from all this I did unlearn
To rage. I learnt to see
The patterns of the cloud, the motionless roll
Of the mildest mist;
My practice and my craft have taught me well.
I abide and dwell in softer wonders, still.