Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Mystic

There is a quest that calls me,
        In nights when I am lone,
The need to ride where the ways divide
        The Known from the Unknown.
I mount what thought is near me
        And soon I reach the place,
The tenuous rim where the Seen grows dim
        And the Sightless hides its face.

I have ridden the wind,
        I have ridden the sea,
        I have ridden the moon and stars.
I have set my feet in the stirrup seat
        Of a comet coursing Mars.
And everywhere
        Thro’ the earth and air
        My thought speeds, lightning-shod,
It comes to a place where checking pace
        It cries, “Beyond lies God!”

It calls me out of the darkness,
        It calls me out of sleep,
“Ride! ride! for you must, to the end of Dust!”
        It bids—and on I sweep
To the wide outposts of Being,
        Where there is Gulf alone—
And thro’ a Vast that was never passed
        I listen for Life’s tone.

I have ridden the wind,
        I have ridden the night,
        I have ridden the ghosts that flee
From the vaults of death like a chilling breath
        Over eternity.
And everywhere
        Is the world laid bare—
        Ether and star and clod—
Until I wind to its brink and find
        But the cry, “Beyond lies God!”

It calls me and ever calls me!
        And vainly I reply,
“Fools only ride where the ways divide
        What Is from the Whence and Why”!
I’m lifted into the saddle
        Of thoughts too strong to tame
And down the deeps and over the steeps
        I find—ever the same.

I have ridden the wind,
        I have ridden the stars,
        I have ridden the force that flies
With far intent thro’ the firmament
        And each to each allies.
And everywhere
        That a thought may dare
        To gallop, mine has trod—
Only to stand at last on the strand
        Where just beyond lies God.

-- Cale Young Rice (1872-1943)

[IMAGE: Luca Rossetti da Orta, The Holy Trinity, fresco, 1738-9, St Gaudenzio Church at Ivrea (Torino)]

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