Francis Thompson (Фрэнсис Томпсон)

The Mirage

              As an Arab journeyeth
              Through a sand of Ayaman,
              Lean Thirst, lolling its cracked tongue,
              Lagging by his side along;
              And a rusty-wingèd Death
              Grating its low flight before,
              Casting ribbèd shadows o'er
              The blank desert, blank and tan:
    He lifts by hap toward where the morning's roots are
                        His weary stare,--
            Sees, although they plashless mutes are,
              Set in a silver air
            Fountains of gelid shoots are,
              Making the daylight fairest fair;
            Sees the palm and tamarind
    Tangle the tresses of a phantom wind;--
    A sight like innocence when one has sinned!
    A green and maiden freshness smiling there,
                While with unblinking glare
    The tawny-hided desert crouches watching her.
                    'Tis a vision:
              Yet the greeneries Elysian
              He has known in tracts afar;
              Thus the enamouring fountains flow,
              Those the very palms that grow,
    By rare-gummed Sava, or Herbalimar.--
              Such a watered dream has tarried
              Trembling on my desert arid;
                    Even so
                Its lovely gleamings
                  Seemings show
              Of things not seemings;
                  And I gaze,
            Knowing that, beyond my ways,
            All these _are_, for these are She.

        Eve no gentlier lays her cooling cheek
        On the burning brow of the sick earth,
            Sick with death, and sick with birth,
        Aeon to aeon, in secular fever twirled,
            Than thy shadow soothes this weak
            And distempered being of mine.
    In all I work, my hand includeth thine;
            Thou rushest down in every stream
    Whose passion frets my spirit's deepening gorge;
    Unhood'st mine eyas-heart, and fliest my dream;
            Thou swing'st the hammers of my forge;
    As the innocent moon, that nothing does but shine,
    Moves all the labouring surges of the world.
        Pierce where thou wilt the springing thought in me,
    And there thy pictured countenance lies enfurled,
        As in the cut fern lies the imaged tree.
            This poor song that sings of thee,
        This fragile song, is but a curled
            Shell outgathered from thy sea,
        And murmurous still of its nativity.

Francis Thompson’s other poems:

  1. Epilogue to the Poet’s Sitter
  2. The Child-Woman
  3. To a Child Heard Repeating Her Mother’s Verses
  4. Poet and Anchorite
  5. The Omen

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