by: William Vaughn Moody (1869-1910)

      LL day he drowses by the sail
      With dreams of her, and all night long
      The broken waters are at song
      Of how she lingers, wild and pale,
      When all the temple lights are dumb,
      And weaves her spells to make him come.
      The wide sea traversed, he will stand
      With straining eyes, until the shoal
      Green water from the prow shall roll
      Upon the yellow strip of sand --
      Searching some fern-hid tangled way
      Into the forest old and grey.
      Then he will leap upon the shore,
      And cast one look up at the sun,
      Over his loosened locks will run
      The dawn breeze, and a bird will pour
      Its rapture out to make life seem
      Too sweet to leave for such a dream.
      But all the swifter will he go
      Through the pale, scattered asphodels,
      Down mote-hung dusk of olive dells,
      To where the ancient basins throw
      Fleet threads of blue and trembling zones
      Of gold upon the temple stones.
      There noon keeps just a twilight trace;
      Twixt love and hate, and death and birth,
      No man may choose; nor sobs nor mirth
      May enter in that haunted place.
      All day the fountain sphynx lets drip
      Slow drops of silence from her lip.
      To hold the porch-roof slender girls
      Of milk-white marble stand arow;
      Doubt never blurs a single brow,
      And never the noon's faintness curls
      From their expectant hush of pride
      The lips the god has glorified.
      But these things he will barely view,
      Or if he stay to heed them, still
      But as the lark the lights that spill
      From out the sun it soars unto,
      Where, past the splendors and the heats,
      The sun's heart's self forever beats.
      For wide the brazen doors will swing
      Soon as his sandals touch the pave;
      The anxious light inside will wave
      And tremble to a lunar ring
      About the form that lieth prone
      Before the dreadful altar-stone.
      She will not look or speak or stir,
      But with drowned lips and cheeks death-white
      Will lie amid the pool of light,
      Until, grown faint with thirst of her,
      He shall bow down his face and sink
      Breathless beneath the eddying brink.
      Then a swift music will begin,
      And as the brazen doors shut slow,
      There will be hurrying to and fro,
      And lights and calls and silver din,
      While through the star-freaked swirl of air
      The god's sweet cruel eyes will stare.

"The Golden Journey" is reprinted from Poems and Plays of William Vaughn Moody. William Vaughn Moody. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1912.




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