Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

(23 September 1861 – 25 August 1907)

The Buddhist - Poem by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

There never was a face as fair as yours,
A heart as true, a love as pure and keen.
These things endure, if anything endures.
But, in this jungle, what high heaven immures
Us in its silence, the supreme serene
Crowning the dagoba, what destined die
Rings on the table, what resistless dart
Strike me I love you; can you satisfy
The hunger of my heart!

Nay; not in love, or faith, or hope is hidden
The drug that heals my life; I know too well
How all things lawful, and all things forbidden
Alike disclose no pearl upon the midden,
Offer no key to unlock the gate of Hell.
There is no escape from the eternal round,
No hope in love, or victory, or art.
There is no plumb-line long enough to sound
The abysses of my heart!


There no dawn breaks; no sunlight penetrates
Its blackness; no moon shines, nor any star.
For its own horror of itself creates
Malignant fate from all benignant fates,
Of its own spite drives its own angel afar.
Nay; this is the great import of the curse
That the whole world is sick, and not a part.
Conterminous with its own universe
the horror of my heart!


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, February 14, 2016



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