The Incarnate

Deep in the soul there throbs the secret pain
Of one homesick for dear familiar things,
When Spring winds rock the waves of sunlit rain
And on the grass there falls the shadow of wings.

How should one bend one’s dreams to the dark clay
Where carven beauty mixed with madness dwells?
And men who fear to die fear not to slay,
And Life has built herself ten thousand hells.

No wave that breaks in music on the shore
Can purify the tiger’s bloodstained den,
The worms that crawl about the dark world’s core
Cry out aloud against the deeds of men.

Alas, the peace of these still hours and deep
Is but a dream that wanders from afar,
And the great Dreamer, turning in His sleep,
Smothers in darkness all our little star.

Yet in the gentle spirit of the wise
Light flashes out through many a simple thing,
The tired ploughman, with impassive eyes,
Knows in his heart that he was once a king.

He sees in dreams the crown long lost and dear,
That glittered on a fallen spirit’s brow,
A shattered gleam from some far shining sphere
Has dazed the eyes of him who drives the plough.

The long brown furrows of the broken soil
Lead in straight lines unto the sunset's gates;
On high green hills, beyond the reach of toil,
The vision of the twilight broods and waits.

The silence folded in about the heart
Whispers strange longings to the broken soul,
That lingers in a lonely place apart,
Stretching vain hands to clasp the secret whole.


Eva Gore-Booth, “The Incarnate” from Poems of Eva Gore-Booth (London: Longmans, Green, 1929). Reprinted with the permission of Sir Josslyn GoreBooth, Bt.
Source: Poems of Eva Gore-Booth (1929)
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