Treasure Island

Henry Abbey

(11 July 1842 - 7 June 1911 / Kingston, NY)

Invocation to the Sun


O Sun, toward which the earth's uneven face
Turns ever round, strong Emperor of Day,
To thee I bring my tribute of large praise;
And yet not I; but that which in me is,
The life in life, conscience, suggester, muse.

Not as to Quetzalcoatl came of old
Fane-climbing worshipers with trump and drum,
And human victims bared for sacrifice
On dizzy Aztec altars; nor, indeed,
As to Apollo of the golden hair
And fiery chariot, who darted war
Against the lords and following of Night,
Come I, O Sun, to thee.

Nor like the Gheber throngs
Who on the eastern shore of ocean bow,
Kissing the trail of thy departing robes,
Do I, to thy down-going, offer prayer.

I, worshipper no less, but not of thee,
Rising at cool-breathed, night-releasing dawn,
Thank the unseen All-Giver for thy day,
And see in thee a ray-strung instrument
Swept by His hand for harmonies of life.

Not I alone salute thy springing beam;
The mountains do thee homage first of all,
And hinder, with their bold and rocky brows,
Thy swift, protracted ray.

Thou callest up
The blooming new from out the withered old,
And givest consciousness to soulless things.
Thou sendest forth the lightning-arrowed cloud;
And the coy breeze, a wordless whisperer,
Doth interchange the breath of man and tree.
Thou dost invite the robin from the south;
Thou whitenest the harvest for our need;
Thou fillest out the youthful cheeks of fruit
With sappy wholesomeness, and dost, at last,
Print one broad sunset on autumnal woods-
In rubricated letters making known
A sad and sylvan moral of decay.

To tread where populations that are dust
Eked out their changeful lives, and left behind
Little beyond a ruin and a name,
Men trust the brief forebearance of the sea;
But thou, above, silent, immutable,
Art long familiar with the scenes they seek,
And hast beheld all times and nations fade.

Tho' like the leaves the generations die,
And tho' the ages in the past recede,
Spun by this pendulous swift wheel of earth
In its fixed orbit by thy influence,
Thou makest man endure; he ceases not;
But stands with steadfast feet upon all time;
Nor shall he cease while yet tomorrow holds
Its one remove away.

Our yesterdays
Are like a lonely and a ruined land
Wherein a breeze of recollection sighs-
A fading land to which is no return.

Uncertainly we bode the life to come,
Yet deem we stand upon the topmost height
Material; but this, that thinks and dreams-
This many-tided vaster sea within-
Baffles itself, and knows not what it is,
Save that its being is enlinked with thine.

And thou, O Sun, dost look on many worlds-
On eight-mooned Saturn with his shining rings,
On Jupiter, On Venus, pearl of dusk-
Thou dost behold thy worlds, and lay on them
Thy ray's restoring finger: they receive
Their sight, and go rejoicing on their way,
Changing, we think, thy light and heat to life.
But we, bound down, shut in on one small star,
Shall not know fully of those other spheres
Until the soul, up-drawn by rays Divine,
Out of this seed-like body blooms on high.

Submitted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

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