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Thread: Poems by Adriaan Roland Holst

  1. #1

    Post Poems by Adriaan Roland Holst

    THE BETRAYAL

    Doomed only from this earth's remotest range
    —estranged from all homes—never to estrange,
    I hear—o, soul— round the world's clamouring core
    your whispering reproach wherever I go,
    and, stumbling, drag my bitter share of woe
    in man's remorse to your deserted shore.

    For that far westward and disconsolate
    your low lament fades to the embittered sea
    since man betrayed you here—only too well
    I know it since that dread hour when, too late
    and shivering, I awoke and found myself
    with those that slept in dark Gethsemane.


    HELEN OF TROY
    (A fragment)


    Where lies the promised land and sole demesne
    of her high heart, tumultuous and proud?
    She was not of this crowd,
    but, reckless and exalted, like a dream
    of heaven and hell above their bargaining feats,
    their bungling with regret and lechery.
    Did you not see
    how she, regardless of them, crossed their streets,
    an ancient tale, a saga all ablaze,
    and how she strode
    as if vast burning clouds were her abode?
    One time I saw her, in those earliest days
    of my awakening, with inheld breath:
    on the town's battlement at fall of night
    she stood, and with a low laugh of delight
    inhaled the seawind from the isles of death.


    THE CHILD BEYOND DEATH

    The laughter of a child before it yet can prate,
    and of a man, who can no longer speak, the sobs:
    and, in between, the uproarious world, the clamouring mobs,
    the garish idols, adored or blasted—and the afterthought
    that all this, when or where it be, leads soon or late
    to a cradled child that laughs as if all this were naught.

    Here in this world these things are evermore diurnal,
    and nevermore fulfilled, but in my heart some time
    London will crumble down like Babylon one time;
    and, stumbling over ruins, I will sooner or later
    come to a child in a garden, small and eternal,
    of breathing grass, and of a tree, and living water—


    THE INTERVENTION


    Towards my table, as the room darkened, there came
    from beyond time and the world two presences, and they
    pointed down at a crystal, calling me by a name
    of wind and light: the full moon of death rose in me.

    But rushing came a third, and to the wall of clouds
    pointed that smouldered in the western afterglow.
    I saw, and the past doom realms and their nameless crowds
    sank in my heart as he his hand laid on my brow.


    ONCE AND NOW

    Once and afar in bright winterlight roared the North-sea
    where at an open window a man lay alone,
    laughing, as out on the road a woman repeatedly
    called to him, crazy with grief, till at last she was gone.

    Life then was cruel and envied, refulgent and bold -
    the fierce heart called but the radiant winter its own.
    What now remains but an old tale no longer told
    in the cramped streets and houses of this bustling town?

    While even here these rhymes die out, I feel afraid
    to think the tide still greets that shore as that man heard it:
    still on its hook that window rattles in the wild light,
    and that bright sea still roars - but the house stands deserted


    DAY OF RECKONING

    Lonely and wild and cold and passionate -
    is that the sea still? What primordial power,
    ultimate token of that turbulent realm
    of blinding, empty and unending light
    now claims the waters?- Deserted are the coasts,
    forgotten the high dreams of bygone worlds.
    Like to the brazen cymbals of fate and reckoning
    the beating waters toll, in onset come
    against the world, and high out of the west
    from the steep ramparts of the dead is heard
    the passionate, the lonely, the wild and cold
    opening chord of the harps of the last day.
    The great, raised by the prelude of this storm
    out of their mortal trance, now calling come
    to man's remaining strongholds, and are seen
    on the dark western bastions, stern and gaunt,
    and pointing to the fateful mystery
    of doom and ruin. The spokesmen of our days
    bore names, but these bear no names, being trumpets
    condemning all that is to the ancient shadows
    of what has been, primeval night, before
    on high appear the four visages of the spirit:
    wide eyes and ruthless voices jubilant -
    cold and impassioned and wild and lonely.

  2. #2

    Post Re: Poems by Adriaan Roland Holst

    GODS AND SINGERS

    Brooding and burning, the lonely immortals
    Over this darkening world have shone.
    The wind still echoes through the portals
    Where they passed, and with the sun
    Flares and fails their dying breath.
    The few who recognized and knew them
    Hear the woods still amurmur, and wander
    Westward, banishing merely human
    Grief in those giants' tales of wonder,
    Of anguish and pride and death.


    The Ploughman


    I have no barns, I ask no harvest Lord.
    Thy willing laborer is penniless.
    But I am rich in this:
    That I may steer the ploughshare of Thy word,
    And that to me Thou hast assigned
    This far-off land and letst me mind
    These rising fields, whence-as I lean
    At knocking-off time by the horses of my will,
    Weary of limb and still -
    The immensity of distant sea is seen

    One boon I ask: make fit
    My strength to bear the knowledge that I am bound
    To live in the fall season of a dying
    World and must die in it

    Thou knowest, as the rustling litany
    Of bygone beauty flutters all around,
    That sadness makes me halt while eying
    Its fall, until I'm almost lost to Thee.

    I shall not see the swelling ear full-grown,
    Nor shall I bind the ripened sheaf,
    But grant me hope of harvest and belief
    That it's my labor's own . . .

    That at the farthest furrow I may devine
    Myself as chosen, God, by Thy design
    To be an earnest tiller of a soil
    Of beauty yet to be; a lonely silhouette
    On sunset sky of what he held most dear,
    Watching the farmstead of his meekness set
    In the fork of the road and the gentle smile
    Of the lamp of a death that knows no fear.

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