Long have I a word enshrined
And worshipped with a piety blind!
Long have I been seeking Rest
In the East and in the West!
Here and there and everywhere
Have I seen her shadow fair ;
But the shadow seems to fade
Like the flowers of yonder glade.
In my lone retreat I sought
Her, but dreams against me fought.
In my nights for her I pray,
But with sleep she stays away.
Foolish is thine effort, vain—
Fruitless, hopeless is thy pain!
With the march of Motion keep,
In thy walk and in thy sleep
Beyond thy finite power it lies
To chain the coursers of the skies.
Even nomads and cells minute
Worlds of unrest constitute.
Rest is no where to be found ;
Each to all in suffering bound.
And no power can deliver thee,
Mortal, from activity.
In thy life as in thy death,
In thy heart as in thy breath,
On the earth as in the skies
Restless Motion never dies.
Always raging, always spinning,
Endless and without beginning.
Death, like me, is seeking Rest,
And all the seas are in her quest ;
But ah, poor souls, she is beyond
Our grasp ; we must go on and on.
No, nor even the grave is free
From the laws that shackle me ;
New life from his worms takes wing,
And on his face fresh blossoms spring.
From Myrtle and Myrrh (The Gorham Press, 1905) by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.
“Rest” appeared in Myrtle and Myrrh (The Gorham Press, 1905)