Emmanuel George Cefai

(12th March 1955 / Victoria, Gozo)

How Wide The Dawn

How wide the Dawn
Is smiling!
How silent-new
The air is breathing!
How raw the sea
Without a wave
Is looking!

And in the night –
Id est last night
How strange
The owl chanteth!
How far, how far
Its cry did seem
And yet
It was so near!
How thrilled the tree
Below my lighted window
And in the night
The solemn night
The owl was still a-calling
To spirits wild
Or long white ghosts

And in the eyes
Of the pale moon
The lake nearby glistened:
How white
How thin
The rays that fall
In midst of the dark waters!
And from the lake
A soundless sound
Is coming:
For in the waves
And from the waves
There comes a little gurgling
And in the night
In the long night
The owl is speaking, speaking!

Ah! this night – in the night
The people in the house
Are all a-sleeping
I – only I
The vigil, the night-vigil
Am making:
And I
And only I
Will my reward receive
For I
And only I
Am seeing
For I
And only I
Am hearing
And I
And only I
Am feeling!

How strange how sere
The feeling!
How from the clear night
The mist of sudden riseth!
And from afar
Past ten long fields
The cemetery is burning
With the pale light
Of the swift moon
That fall
On every wall
This long, long night!

It seems
It seems
That the cemetery’s open:
And yet
And yet
There is no noise
No sound
But from the yews
A soundless sound
Is coming:
A restless sound
Like souls
This night all-aching
And restless
At some thing
I am not hearing!

Ha! We on earth
Make prisons
And lodge
Bodies – human bodies in them:
And we on earth
Make cemeteries
And lodge
Bodies – human bodies in them
And the long night
Under the light
Of heaven
How waning-blue
And tight
Is coming!

At long last
We fall into a prison
If not the one
In fine to the other
And at the last
And in the last
We enter our last prison:
And in the night
The long and lonely night
The cemetery is shining!

Submitted: Monday, October 03, 2011
Edited: Tuesday, October 04, 2011

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