The Cliff Temple
Great, bright portal,
shelf of rock,
rocks fitted in long ledges,
rocks fitted to dark, to silver granite,
to lighter rock—
clean cut, white against white.
High—high—and no hill-goat
has set foot on your fine grass;
you lift, you are the world-edge,
pillar for the sky-arch.
The world heaved—
we are next to the sky:
over us, sea-hawks shout,
gulls sweep past—
the terrible breakers are silent
from this place.
Below us, on the rock-edge,
where earth is caught in the fissures
of the jagged cliff,
a small tree stiffens in the gale,
it bends—but its white flowers
are fragrant at this height.
And under and under,
the wind booms:
it whistles, it thunders,
it growls—it presses the grass
beneath its great feet.
for ever and for ever, must I follow you
through the stones?
I catch at you—you lurch:
you are quicker than my hand-grasp.
I wondered at you.
I was splintered and torn:
the hill-path mounted
swifter than my feet.
Could a daemon avenge this hurt,
I would cry to him—could a ghost,
I would shout—O evil,
follow this god,
taunt him with his evil and his vice.
Shall I hurl myself from here,
shall I leap and be nearer you?
Shall I drop, beloved, beloved,
ankle against ankle?
Would you pity me, O white breast?
If I woke, would you pity me,
would our eyes meet?
Have you heard,
do you know how I climbed this rock?
My breath caught, I lurched forward—
stumbled in the ground-myrtle.
Have you heard, O god seated on the cliff,
how far toward the ledges of your house,
how far I had to walk?
Over me the wind swirls.
I have stood on your portal
and I know—
you are further than this,
still further on another cliff.
This poem is in the public domain.