The Wedding Feast Poem by Anna Hempstead Branch

The Wedding Feast


Oh who art thou—thou fearful guest—
Too burning bright, too strangely fair?
'I am the dæmon of unrest,
From the kingdom of the air.'

Brightness, I bid thee from my door.
Off! off! I say, with spur and goad!
'I have come,'he cried, 'to drive the bride
Over a lonely road.'

But where? But where? In earth or air
Where would ye hurry me?
'To a bright place we must repair
Where She would have us be.

'Her power this night is on us both,
And I am sent by Her.
Pale wandering shape, thou shalt obey
Her flaming messenger.'

Oh let me be for a single night.
For a single night, lord, let me be.
The torch is lit, the feast is bright,
My love has come to marry me!

'I cannot wait for a single night!
Her voice calls. We must be gone!
Her feast is set with lovelier light
And She is whiter than the sun.'

Oh let me be for a mortal hour,
For a mortal hour, lord, let me be,
That I may bring my lover the wine
And that he may break the bread with me.

'I cannot wait for a mortal hour.
Her splendor calls us from afar.
She fain would sup from a living cup
Her radiant hands have lifted up
Like the brightness of a star.'

Oh let me be for a breath of time,
For a breath of time, lord, let me be.
I shall run more warm through cold and storm
If my love has given a kiss to me.

'I cannot wait for a breath of time.
There's many a league for us to run,
Through brakes through mire,
Through frost, through fire,
To Her palace of the sun.'

What shall I do in her palace bright?
Why should she bid me there?
'Love waits outside Her door to-night
In Her citadel of air.

'Unto Her breast He fain would come,
But Him She will not see,
Unless the bread She sets for Him
Shall of thy body be.'

She is a witch, bright as the devil.
She shall not lay her spells on me.
She is a bubble, blown of evil,
Pale foam of an unholy sea.

'She lifts a goblet from her breast.
Like a star She holds it up.
She will not bid Him in to feast
Unless thy soul is in the cup.'

Witches' feet shall never tread
From my soul its precious wine.
Her Love shall not go comforted
With holy blood of mine!

'Her lips shall never be the throne
Whereon shall rule Her great Love's kiss
Unless I snatch thee from thine own
And whirl thee through the dark abyss.

'If She lose what She desires
Her sufferings will be more than human.
She is wrought of Heavenly fires,
Greater than any mortal woman.

'She would ravage wide and high,
Dashed from Her orbit out of space.
Meteors should not burn the sky
More than the stars Her face.'

Then let her lose and let her bear
Alone her strange and mighty grief.
I will not shed a single tear
To bring her soul relief.

'Thou wilt not? Nay—beneath Her eyes
Thou art a helpless creature.
She is the music of the skies
And thou art wanton nature.'

Is she of the land of faery,
That she should be so brightly cruel,
In a ghostlike palace airy,
Cloud built, set with many a jewel?
Is she charmed and is she spelled?
Is she of magic softly woven?
I will pray to my Lord God.
He shall rule her with his rod,
The way betwixt us twain be cloven.

'She is charmed and She is spelled.
She is not of the land of faery.
Yes—She is brightly cruel—
Ghostlike, in a palace airy,
Set with stars like many a jewel.
Pray to thy Lord God.
She is of such wild magic woven
He will not rule Her with His rod
Nor shall the road to Her be cloven.'

Oh goblin bright, thou fierce-eyed sprite,
I fear thee with thy spur and goad!
'I am Her Will that drives thy flight
On Her appointed road.'

But who is she whose magic will
Seems such a fearful thing?
Tell her I rule my kingdom still,
The daughter of a king.

'Thy kingdom is of sea and land,
Unstable as the glittering wind.
She rules thy nature with Her hand
In the kingdom of the mind.'

Who is she and what is she,
That I should follow as night the noon?
'She is deeper than the sky
And taller than the fire-white moon.

'The sunsets of the eternal years
Yield unto Her their mellow wines.
The sunrise of all living spheres
Her breast incarnadines.'

I hate her that she shines so bright.
I hate her for her elfin dower.
I hate her that she rules this night
With an unearthly power.

Who is she and what is she,
Thou blazing, bright, mysterious elf?
'She is the empress over thee
Thy deep, eternal Self.

'As time from out the skies shall thresh
The stars with all their ancient fires,
She bids me scourge from out thy flesh
The throbbing of its deep desires.

''Wherefore beware! Wherefore beware!
Her will upon this night be done.
I'll drive thee forth into the air
And we will dart into the sun.'


With fires bedight that magic sprite
Leaped upon my back to ride.
He was a creature fierce and bright.
He struck his spurs into my side.

'Oh leave me to my mortal mirth!
I am afraid of that bright spirit.
I am too young to quit this earth.
Nay, let me this sweet earth inherit.

'If I should gaze upon her face
A fearful change on me would come.
Then I should be estranged with grace,
An alien in my home.

'When at the hearth I drive my loom
And my love gazes in my eyes,
He will see powers and thrones and doom
And suns and stars and ancient skies.

'Then, when he reaches for my hands,
No smallness will he comfort there,
But he will touch the seas, the lands,
The seasons and the throbbing air.

'When from her splendor I return
And in the flesh dwell once again,
Too mystic warm my heart shall burn
To please the hearts of men.

'Unearthly bright my brow would gleam
To them that hate all brightness still.
My laughing calm to them would seem
Like snow upon a hill.

'They would resent my high emprise,
My haunted speech, my echoing mien.
I could not shake from out mine eyes
The visions they had seen.

'I should be charged with errands high,
Strange roads should bind my speeding feet.
Then I should be a voice, a cry,
A portent in the street.

'I fear her call. I fear her face.
I fear the silent, shining change.
They will stone me in the market place
For uttering lovely things and strange!

'But oh, not they, with living whips,
Shall scourge from me my folded wings,
Nor burn with flames from off my lips
Murmurs of dread ecstatic things.

'But yet, abhorring when I go
With gracious gifts, sweet as the sky,
They in the dust will lay me low,
And at the last will crucify.

'Lord, let me keep these eyes that weep,
This heart that breaks, these wounds to bind,
These limbs that leap, that dance, that sleep,
And nearness to my kind!'

He laughed aloud, as in a cloud
A meteor beats and clings.
So in my thought his voice was wrought.
He flashed his bright, melodious wings.

'Too late! Too late! Thou canst not choose.
She calls thee from Her radiant spheres.
What thou dost now with tears refuse
To-night thou shalt beseech with tears.

'For thou must come to Her with blood,
Purged brightly clean with mightiest grief,
With chastened longing and a mood
Humble beyond belief.

'I'll show thee many an empty sight.
Through many a void shalt thou run,
Until thou wailest for the light
In the city of the sun.

'Until, deep panting for the light,
Thou layest down thy mortal nature.
Then shalt thou be transformed and bright,
Eternal and angelic creature.'


That god rode forth upon my mind.
He perched upon my affrighted wit,
As meteors bristling in the wind
Amid their shining plumage sit.

I felt his glance around me stream.
His flaming hair flew over me.
His eyes laid hold upon my dream
And made me see as he did see.

When like great steeds appalled at night
My astonished eyes would rear and run,
He set his bit upon my sight
And made it drive into the sun.

He scourged it down into the dust.
He drove it down into the stone.
It ran as ridden creatures must
On magic journeys bound alone.

With blood and sweat my wits were wet.
He raced them through a solid wall.
It was a dream I might forget,
A dimness that was not at all

A soft, a pale, a silent thing,
My face did cleave and set it by,
And underneath its cloudy wing
I heard its separate atoms sing
Like the great stars in the sky.
For what is large and what is small
To spiritual eyes?
The great Lord careth not at all
For the dream that men call size.

But what thou dost, that art thou. Lo,
The atoms that rehearse
Their orbits in the stone are vast
As an æoned universe.

The pebble has a curious will
That in my hand doth lie.
It seems as motionless and still
As the zenith in the sky.

It seems to make not any sound.
It does not hum nor sing.
It keeps a helpless simple round
Yet is a fearful thing.

Its molecules weave in and out,
They leap, they plunge, they dive.
Up from dark gulfs they whirl about
As if they were alive.

They live, they dance, they burn, they die,
Their Judgment Days draw on apace!
Between their smallest atoms lie
Oceans of darkest space.

Those atoms ache, they groan, they quake,
They hiss, they plunge, they roar!
And I that hold a silent stone
Lift up a living war.

It does not burst, it does not shake,
Nor fly dispersed in grains of sand.
Its shape is folded over it,
Like a divine great hand.

It is the hand that lies so still!
It never sets them by.
A shape serene, but under it
Those whirling atoms dance and flit
Like the quick stars in the sky!

This earth, it is not as it seems.
It is the strangest place!
Once did I run on solid stones,
But now I trod on space.

On empty gulfs of space trod I!
Worlds were beneath my feet,
And many a brightly speeding sky
And heaven spreaded sweet.

'Thou magic sprite, fearfully bright,
Now have I wandered far.
What are these gulfs of roaring night
Wherein whirls many a flaming star?'
'Substance, before thy mortal sight,
Shows all things as they are.'

'What is this world so green, so fair,
That hovers brightly over me?'
'It is the atom in the air
Too small for human eyes to see.

'Behold, its forests and its lakes,
Its mountains and its rugged scars,
And like a bristling mane it shakes
Lights of innumerable stars.

'It has its sunrise beautiful
On shining mountains morning pale.
And many a praying temple stands
In many a quiet vale.

'Its magic towns are brightly set
Amid the spacious air.
Your heavy earth is the varying breeze
That sweetly hovers there,
Your mountains and your solid seas
To them are purest air.'

Their casements open on the gale
But none of them are seen.
Another earth, another sky,
Strange gardens sweetly green!

'No siege to them was ever laid.
Unseen their bulwarks are.
With gulfs of nearness are they stayed
As distance stays the star.'

'You cannot see their flashing eyes.
Their songs and prayers you cannot hear.
Oh they seem further than the skies
Because they are so near.

'A world within your world doth lie,
Hidden from mortal men.
Another world in that is furled
And a thousand worlds again.'

The solid air around me there
Heaved like a roaring ocean.
And far and wide on every side
I saw the smoking planets ride
In waves of angry motion.

All faces of all living men
Among those waves did glide,
A moment palely floated, then
Were gulfed amid the tide.

Amid the gleaming, swimming sea
I saw my love drift dimly by.
'Oh lure him up, bright sprite, to me,
Or I of grief shall die.

'Out of this fluid flashing earth
Let one thing solid be.
His beauteous body that God made,
Lord, let it comfort me.

'I reach to thee with my hands, my love.
On lightnings I lay hold;
On clouds and citadels and domes
And kingdoms dark and old.

'Through unseen flesh of secret tribes
That no man's eyes may see,
Through wrath and hate and love and death
I lay my hands on thee.'

I touched his garment and it seemed
A mantle wrought of cosmic pain!
Of sighing worlds and dying moons
And many a stellar hurricane.

For he was clothed in day and night,
And aching chills and chaos cold,
And groaning worlds and mortal blight
And all things terrible and old.
Then was I far that would be near,
And substance was a fearful thing.
I was appalled and full of fear,
That was the daughter of a king.

I plunged to him through whirling night.
The stars, the times, I swept aside.
Once more, upon his bosom bright,
I lay, his own anointed bride.

'Oh, let me kiss his lips once more,
His sweet lips, or I die.
So near they are no gulf, no star
Betwixt our breaths shall lie.'

'Nearness, thou art a fearful thing,
And no man sails thy ghostly tide,
But angels with a flaming wing
On thy strange gulfs can glide.
Spirits, that walk on shining feet,
Can reach the other side.
Across the ocean will we float.
Thy kiss shall be a living boat!'
My radiant dæmon cried.
'My eyes shall leave a fiery trail,
My spread wings be thy bellying sail,
I will be thy guide.'

His face gleamed palely at my prow,
His spread wings were my sails.
His screaming voice bestrid the air
As a meteor rides the gales.
His glances streamed about my sides,
With light they burnished me,
Among the sails and in and out
His hovering vision flew about
As bright as it could be.

'What is this ocean, goblin bright,
This silent, smooth and crimson sea?
I have sailed all day and sailed all night.
Is there no port to left or right
Where I might harbored be?'

Above the prow, with happy brow,
I saw that radiant dæmon shine:
'This is that nearness that divides
Thy true love's lips from thine.

'What is great and what is small?
What is near and what is far?
Unto the Lord that made us all
The mote is equal to the star.'

'What is this shore to which I come,
Where sunrise reddens into day?
It seems a sweet and pleasant home
Where a wanderer might stay.

'Laughing folks move to and fro,
A gentle tribe are they.
The flutes they sing, the pipes they blow,
The harps they sweetly play!

'Upon my prow they lay their hands,
They draw me swiftly to the shore.
What are these heavenly happy lands
Where no man ever was before?

'They twine their garlands on my prow.
They clothe me in a garment fair.
With laughing flowers they crown my brow,
Then into happy vales repair.'

The goblin spoke—that fierce-eyed sprite—
He swayed me with his spell:
'These are thy gardens of delight
That in his lips do dwell.
Through many a Heaven shalt thou rove
In the mystic flesh of him you love,
And many a fearful Hell.

'His mortal flesh, it is a mesh
Of worlds and space and time.
A universe, it doth rehearse
Old chronicles sublime.

'Made in the image of the Lord,
Of moons and stars and suns,
And round about and in and out
His Heavenly nature runs.

'And thou art lit into a star
That on his lip doth flame.
But yet thou art so far—more far
Than the world from which you came.'

Amazed, I gazed upon the ground.
I looked upon the air.
White clouds were floating in the sky
And the wind was everywhere.

'Why did they greet me when I came
And garland me their queen?'
'His substance is thy living land,
Thy sacred own demesne.'

'Thou magic sprite, thou goblin bright,
These sweet vales blossom so,
And forth to gather garlands green
The men and maidens go.
The flutes they sing, the harps they play,
The pipes they sweetly blow!

'It is the joy of his heart,
That keeps perpetual Spring.
In him lies furled full many a world,
And all rise up to sing.
They all rise up to sing—to sing—
Meadow and hill and lea!
His body glows like a sweet new rose
Because he dreams of thee.'

'Thou fierce-eyed sprite, dæmonic, bright,
The singing season goes.
A barren waste, a faded tree,
And withering of the rose!

'The maidens with their flowering wreaths
Are shedding bitter tears.
Their eyes that laughed, their mouths that sang,
Are nebulous with years.'

'It is the passion that devours
That eats his flesh away.
His youthful gardens glowing green
Are blasted with decay.

Where once they kept their festival,
Lo now, the bloodhounds bay,
And in his sweetest pastures rove
The wild-eyed beasts of prey.
This hast thou done that lured too far
The urgence of the clay.'

'The earth is cracked, the sea runs dry,
The mountains sink into the ground!'
'It is the wreckage of his flesh
From his spirit's grievous wound.'

'Whence came these priests with eyes austere?
They lay on me their hands.
See—I am bled with cruel gyves
And bound with sullen bands.'

'Their ancient god in angry mood
Looks down on thee with wrathful eyes,
Until on altars red with blood
Thou art the sacrifice.'

'Who is that ancient god?'…
'His Soul,
The great, the high, the superhuman!
He is beautiful and far.
He is throned upon a star,
Waiting for a mystic Woman.'

'Master of light, thou dæmon bright,
Now dawns the Judgment Day!
The earth that once did shine so bright
Is withered all away.
The earth and air and all the skies
Are folded up like scrolls,
And from the pit in which they cry
Comes the wailing of lost souls.'

'It is the wrath his Spirit feels
For what His flesh has done.
He turns to a diviner feast
In the city of the sun.
In lovelier lands thou canst not see
He seeks a cosmic bride.
Beneath Her face He gathers grace,
He casts His flesh aside.

'For thou art Eve and thou dost tempt
And lead astray since time began.
But She is Mary and brings forth
The perfect Man.'

'But who is she and what is she,
Thou blazing, bright, mysterious elf?'
'She is the empress over thee,
Thy deep eternal Self.

'Throughout thy flesh He seeks Her face.
Her lips He fain would kiss.
Wherefore He runs through roaring suns
And many a dark abyss.'

'Thou magic sprite, dæmonic, bright,
Lay then on me thy goad!
For if he seeks her face to-night
I will pursue the self-same road.

Through moon and sun I'll run. I'll rove
Through solid earth and flumes of fire!
But I will be his only love,
My breast, the end of his desire.'

Then shalt thou search through thine own flesh
Thou shalt not find Him there.t
For lo,'t is an enchanted mesh
Woven of unearthly air.'

That goblin bright, that fierce-eyed sprite,
Loud and long laughed he.
He laid his bit upon my sight
And made me see as he did see.

The atoms of my body stirred,
Chanting cosmic tunes.
Through gulfs of time they wheeled and veered
Or through deep spaces dipped and steered,
Like great white separate moons.

In the caverns of my brain
I saw fierce planets whirl and dip,
Burn in the hollow of my hand
Or slide along my finger tip.

Where once my flesh was wont to be,
Great comets swept their fearful wars.
My bone, it shone with fires and seas,
My body shook with stars.

Sunsets with gold and scarlet crest
Through my flesh did gleam, did glide;
Through flashing hair and swimming breast,
Melting forehead and trembling side.

'Brightness, I see a shape that runs.
I see it sink! I see it rise!
Sometimes it clings to gorgeous suns
And now it drowns in dizzy skies.'

'Thee He searches through and through,
Every world that in thee lies,
Seeking for a Heavenly Woman
In an ancient Paradise.'

'But who is she whose spirit face
Appears to him so fair, so high?
Is she clothed in deeper grace?
Is she more beautiful than I?'

'She is enthroned on high—afar.
Moons are wreathed about Her brow.
She shines brightlier than a star,
She is more beautiful than thou.'

Who is she and what is she,
In her citadel of air?
Where can her secret bosom be,
That I may stab her, heavenly fair?'

She is hid in a palace of light,
Deeper than the midmost sky.
If thou shouldst wound Her breast to-night,
Swiftly, swiftly, wouldst thou die.'

'Who is she?… What is she?
Thou blazing, bright, mysterious elf!'
'She is the empress over thee,
Thy deep eternal self.'

'He follows Her through cloud and star,
He follows Her through death and dream,
Into a land lovely and far!
Her kingdom holy
Is lit with a spiritual gleam.

'With blessed food They shall be fed,
In Her citadel divine.
Thy flesh shall be the immortal bread,
Thy soul—the everlasting wine.'

'' Let me gaze upon her face
That is so beautiful, so far.
Let me behold her blinding grace
Throned upon her midmost star.

'I will rend her with my hands—
Hostile, bright, fearfully high.
I will wound her where she stands.
Then swiftly, swiftly, let me die.'

Beware! Beware! I say beware!
Her eyes shall burn thee like the sun.
She is fierce and She is fair,
Her will upon this night be done.'


What strange pavilions builded bright
Shine in the upper air!
Scourged with sharp rods of living light,
How swiftly was I there!

She was more radiant than the noon,
More innocent than the gentlest sky,
Taller than the fire-white moon!
She was more beautiful than I.

Her garments, blown about my breast,
Were music in my heart and brain.
They were more exquisite than rest,
More terrible than pain.

Before God's eyes She met Her mate.
Not yet They throbbed with single bliss.
Their silent lips, austere, elate,
Dreamed of the great forbidden kiss.

'Never, never shall it be!
They shall not go comforted,
Until They strain Their wine of thee,
And eat thee for Their daily bread.

'If They, lose what They desire,
Greater than mortal man or woman,
They shall be dispersed in fire.
Their sufferings shall be superhuman.'

All about on every side
I saw the blazing planets go.
Ashes of Judgment Days did ride
On gales as white as snow.

Many a laughing Paradise
Stricken in the air did ail,
And many a spent and anguished moon
Blackened the midnight gale.

Each to each with grievous cry,
Withered from its living mesh,
And well I knew that they were I,
The weavings of my mortal flesh.

She could not rule them with desire
Nor bid them from their eternal pain,
Until my breath had blown the fire
By which they should be purged again.

'Lay me in Her altar flame,
Thou blazing, bright, mysterious elf.
She is the empress over me,
My deep eternal Self.

'Splendor, let me be Thy wine,
Crimson, in a starry cup.
Let me be Thy drink divine.
Pour me forth and drink me up.

Seize me, Splendor, where I stand!
On my substance be Thou fed.
Break me with Thy radiant hand—
Anguished and nutritious bread.

'Then no more, not any more,
Shall I hate and worship Thee!
But Thy kiss, shaped of my death,
Be the utter end of me.

'In Thy citadel of air—
Fearful art Thou, like the sun.
Thou art fierce and Thou art fair!
Thy Will upon this night be done.'


At last from dreamless sleep I came,
The seeds of fire were in my eyes.
I seemed to come from blood and flame
As from a sacrifice.

Oh in that sleep where had I been,
What fearful pathways had I trod?
What had I done? What had I seen?
That I should feel so near to God!

Upon an altar had I lain.
With snow-white fire they wrapped me round.
I can remember that vast pain,
Spiritual, profound.

For centuries in a speechless place
I was a spent and anguished thing.
They drifted flame upon my face.
I was a sacred offering.

I waked—and peace was in my eyes,
And happiness did me enfold;
A single sleep had made me wise,
Serene, immeasurably old.

My mortal dream I had laid by
And no desire had I now.
Wrapped in eternal calm was I
And peace was throned upon my brow.

Strange was the place where I had been.
It seemed to me like deepest Hell.
Lo, now I glistened, brightly clean,
Detached, immutable, and well.

And oh, I was not any more
As I had been, unhappy, human,
But beauteous as I was before,
Greater than any mortal woman.

The sunsets of the eternal years
Poured forth for me their mellow wine.
I felt the sunrise of the spheres
My breast incarnadine.

All abroad, on every side,
Singing stars did shine and beat,
And they were messengers of joy
On beautiful swift feet.

Then with my looks I bade them move
With laughter down the sweet blue years,
And they were globed of loveliest love,
Roseate and angelic spheres.

Each to each did cry and sing
Out of their bright melodious mesh.
And lo—I knew each laughing star
Was spun into my earthly flesh.

Beautiful, before my eyes
Strangest light they did receive.
Orbs of sweetest Paradise!
Gardens where God walked at eye!

For I was come into a place
Wherefrom all things are wrought.
I shaped my body forth in space
In myriad orbs of thought.

Upon the earth, in her father's hall,
I saw a simple maiden stand.
A thousand worlds, I held them all,—
Her mystic body,—in my hand.

Sweetly to me my great Love came.
'Love, I have waited long,' He said.
I poured for Him the mystic wine.
He gave me white angelic bread.

Then did we glow with rapture high!
We felt a deep, ethereal bliss.
He laid me on His breast. I gave
To my great Love, a holy kiss.


No more—no more—not any more
Those dæmon eyes were bent on me.
I was a maid as I was before.
My love had come to marry me.

They knew not of my spirit's flight,
Guessed not my starry wandering.
The torch was lit, the feast was bright,
For the daughter of the king.

In at the door my true love came.
Trembling, I looked into his eyes.
I saw the stars of memory flame,
Eternal as the skies.

I cried, 'When I abroad did rove
You saw me shine, exalted, strange.
Lo now, the miracle of love—
In me,—a silent, shining change.

'Forevermore my wings must reach
And in fair skies must brightly spread.
My mouth must utter beauteous speech,
And stars must shine above my head.

'A change has come on me. Mine eyes
Are spiritual and I must see
Another world and stranger skies
Than ever used to be.

'Nothing is now as once it seemed
Before I ran with the dæmon bright.
Beauty has out of terror streamed,
All in a single night!'

I cried, 'What change has come on death,
That I no more corruption see,
But breathe a keener breath?
It is a change in me!
I have grown ethereal,
Exalted, immaterial,
Wiser and merrier than I used to be.

'When I regard the church-yard dust
And touch the grain of dead men's bones,
My sight, as spirit vision must,
Sinks through the melting stones.

'I seem to hear upon the air
A sweet, a multitudinous sound!
Ten thousand creatures dancing there
Make beautiful the ground.

'The fountains leap! The fountains spring!
They heal me with their cool delight!
I weep, and merrily I sing,
A creature passionately bright.

I feed upon the loveliest fruit
That ever shone on any tree.
I bite its mild mysterious root,
I dance in ecstasy.
Gleaming softly in and out
Calm dead people move about
As happy as can be.

'I cannot grieve! I cannot weep!
I cannot see an unholy thing!
Behold—a corpse laid out to sleep.
Death swathed it in a living wing,
And underneath that snow-white plume
I heard a happy creature sing.

For now love's breath is in my hair,
Mine eyes have seen the greater bliss.
My smiling lips shall always wear
The splendor of my great Love's kiss.

'Now must they be deep welts of truth,
Wherefrom a fount of beauty springs.
The mouth, whereon His lips were pressed,
Shall murmur dread ecstatic things.'

I laughed aloud—'Love, we are gods,
Beyond all earthly bars!
And underneath our feet the sod
Is suns and moons and stars.

'We gather meteors in our hands,
We drink the bubbling spheres.
Our bread is seas and lands. We breathe
The cyclones of the years.

'Our garments bright are woven of light,
Of golden stars and whirling air.
And times and change and histories strange,
And Judgment Days, are acted there.

'Thy shape is white with murmuring moons,
Woven of strong stars thy body is.
Thou art those flashing orbs—my soul,
Their ancient melodies!

'Now are we one before God's sight,
Purged brightly clean with mightiest grief,
With chastened longing and a mood
Humble beyond belief.

'Love, thou art Priest at Heaven's shrine!
The Truth thou knowest, cry again!
My breasts are beautiful with milk.
I am mother to all living men!'

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