Modern Verse in English, 1900-1950

By David Cecil; Allen Tate | Go to book overview

Katherine Garrison Chapin (Am. b. 1890)

The Other Journey

Valley of ancient life, how many visions died,
In this bright sand, how many dreams were born,
The falcon and the angel side by side,
The limbs of love from bleeding body torn.
Who shall discern the fire on the hill
Or rise again obedient to a will?

Summon the princely chariot from the halls,
The hunter and the hunted, in their chase,
Bright spear suspended. For the one who falls,
Another rises who shall take his place,
And on the timeless surface of the walls,
With deeper line mark out a different face.

The broken fragments of Man's searching lie
In cycles from first dark to later dark;
A goddess sucks the udders of the sky,
Goat-headed Fate sits in his moving barque;
Sirius erect, celestial majesty,
Steers his slight boat across a star-divided sea.

Valley of ancient time, here fresh creation
Lies like a dew upon each living shape
Throbs in singing bird throat, in the motion
Of dancing feet, moves in coil of snake.
The Queen's white garment flutters
As she receives the key of life within her long thin fingers.

And life is center of the Temple's plan
Which moves forever forward in design;
In measure of the microcosm, man,
Man living, not destroyed, not sacrificed
(A drooped Head on a Cross)
But man, source of fertile power, linked with the planet's source.

Where tall papyrus-budded columns rise
In flowering rows, their peristyle and place
Stand in conjunction with revolving skies,

-347-

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