In my first sleep
I came to the river
And looked down
Through the clear water -
Yours is the face that the earth turns to me,
Continuous beyond its human features lie
The mountain forms that rest against the sky.
With your eyes, the reflecting rainbow, the sun's light
Wanting to know all
I overlooked each particle
Containing the whole
Now he is dead
How should I know
My true love's arms
From wind and snow?
Reaching down arm-deep into bright water
I gathered on white sand under waves
Shells, drifted up on beaches where I alone
Inhabit a finite world of years and days.
I came too late to the hills: they were swept bare
Winters before I was born of song and story,
Of spell or speech with power of oracle or invocation,
God in me is the fury on the bare heath
God in me shakes the interior kingdom of my heaven.
God in me is the fire wherein I burn.
Where is the seed
Of the tree felled,
Of the forest burned,
Or living root
From star to star, from sun and spring and leaf,
And almost audible flowers whose sound is silence,
And in the common meadows, springs the seed of life.
Primrose, anemone, bluebell, moss
Grow in the Kingdom of the Cross
And the ash-tree's purple bud
Earth no longer
hymns the Creator,
the seven days of wonder,
the Garden is over —
This war's dead heroes, who has seen them?
They rise in smoke above the burning city,
Faint clouds, dissolving into sky —
Night comes, an angel stands
Measuring out the time of stars,
Still are the winds, and still the hours.
Day is the hero's shield,
The light days are the angels.
We the seed.
A Gaelic bard they praise who in fourteen adjectives
Named the one indivisible soul of his glen;
For what are the bens and the glens but manifold qualities,
Immeasurable complexities of soul?
Where are those dazzling hills touched by the sun,
Those crags in childhood that I used to climb?
Hidden, hidden under mist is yonder mountain,
Hidden is the heart.
I saw the sun step like a gentleman
Dressed in black and proud as sin.
I saw the sun walk across London
Like a young M. P., risen to the occasion.
Kathleen Raine was born in London in 1908, where she grew up; taking on a number of unsatisfactory jobs. Through one of her later jobs she met the nephew of the Indian mystic Rama Coomaraswamy Tambimuttu, who invited her to contribute to his new magazine, Poetry London, she did of course, and soon developed a lifelong passion for all things Indian. Raine began to seriously write toward her late twenties, and by 1943 she had published her first collection of poetry Stone and Flower, which was illustrated by Barbara Hepworth. Three years later the collection Living in Time was released, followed by The Pythoness in 1949. Raine married twice, each time unhappily due to dissatisfaction with domesticity. She was even quoted as saying she felt "as if I were living in someone else's dream.” This unhappiness led to an affair with a gay writer named Gavin Maxwell. This affair helped to inspire the works in The Year One 1952, which she released in 1952. Raine stayed frequently with Maxwell on the island of Sandaig in the Scottish Islands. The relationship ended in 1956 when Raine lost his pet otter, Mijbil, who inspired Maxwell's best-selling book Ring of Bright Water. She published a book of poems called Collected Poems that same year. She began her autobiography 1973 and it was out in 1977. Four years later Raine had founded her own magazine, called Temenos, to help articulate her views. Raine went on to win several awards, including the Harriet Monroe Prize, Edna St. Vincent Millay Prize from the American Poetry Society, and the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry in 1992. In 2000, she was made a Commander of the British Empire.)
Said the sun to the moon,
You cannot stay.
Says the moon to the waters,
All is flowing.
Says the fields to the grass,
Seed-time and harvest,
Chaff and grain.
You must change said,
Said the worm to the bud,
Though not to a rose,
That wings may rise
Borne on the wind.
You are changing
said death to the maiden, your wan face
To memory, to beauty.
Are you ready to change?
Says the thought to the heart, to let her pass
All your life long
For the unknown, the unborn
In the alchemy
Of the world's dream?
You will change,
says the stars to the sun,
Says the night to the stars.
I couldn't claim that I have never felt the urge to explore evil, but when you descend into hell you have to be very careful.