Softer Wonders, Still

When first I tried, I could not abide

Subtle miracles.

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.


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