Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century.
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Famous Aleister Crowley Poems
Lyric Of Love To Leah
Come, my darling, let us dance
To the moon that beckons us
To dissolve our love in trance
Heedless of the hideous
Heat & hate of Sirius-
Shun his baneful brilliance!
Let us dance beneath the palm
Moving in the moonlight, frond
Wooing frond above the calm
Of the ocean diamond
Sparkling to the sky beyond
The enchantment of our psalm.
Let us dance, my mirror of
Perfect passion won to peace,
Let us dance, my treasure trove,
On the marble terraces
Carven in pallid embroeideries
For the vestal veil of Love.
Heaven awakes to encompass us,
Hell awakes its jubilance
In our hearts mysterious
Marriage of the azure expanse,
With the scarlet brilliance
Of the Moon with Sirius.
Velvet swatches our lissome limbs
Languid lapped by sky & sea
Soul through sense & spirit swims
Through the pregnant porphyry
Dome of lapiz-lazuli:-
Heart of silence, hush our hymns.
Come my darling; let us dance
Through the golden galaxies
Rythmic swell of circumstance
Beaming passion’s argosies:
Ecstacy entwined with ease,
Terrene joy transcending trance!
Thou my scarlet concubine
Draining heart’s blood to the lees
To empurple those divine
Lips with living luxuries
Life importunate to appease
Drought insatiable of wine!
Tunis in the tremendous trance
Rests from day’s incestuous
Traffic with the radiance
Of her sire-& over us
Gleams the intoxicating glance
Of the Moon & Sirius.
Take the ardour of my impearled
Essence that my shoulders seek
To intensify the curled
Candour of the eyes oblique,
Eyes that see the seraphic sleek
Lust bewitch the wanton world.
Come, my love, my dove, & pour
From thy cup the serpent wine
Brimmed & breathless -secret store
Of my crimson concubine
Surfeit spirit in the shrine-
Devil -Godess -Virgin -Whore.
Afric sands ensorcel us,
Afric seas & skies entrance
Velvet, lewd & luminous
Night surveys our soul askance!
Come my love, & let us dance
To the Moon and Sirius!
Kill off mankind,
And give the Earth a chance!
Nature might find
In her inheritance
The seedlings of a race
Less infinitely base.
[Dedicated to K.M.Ward]
“I will arise and go unto my father”
Dark, dark all dark! I cower, I cringe.
Only ablove me is a citron tinge
As if some echo of red, gold and lue
Chimed on the night and let its shadow through.
Yet I who am thus prisoned and exiled
Am the right heir of glory, the crowned child.
I match my might against my Fate’s
I gird myself to reach the ultimate shores,
I arm myself the war to win:-
Lift up your heads, O mighty gates!
Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors!
The King of Glory shall come in.
I pass from the citrine:deep indigo
Is this tall column. Snakes and vultures bend
Their hooted hate on him that would ascend.
O may the Four avail me ! Ageless woe,
Fear, torture, throng the treshold. LO1 The end
Of Matter ! The immensity of things
Let loose -new laws, new beings, new conditions;-
Dire chaos; see ! these new-fledged wings
Fail in its vagueness and initiations.
Only my circle saves me from the hate
Of all these monsters dead yet animate.
I match, &c.
Hail, thou full moon, O flame of Amethyst !
Stupendous mountain on whose shoulders rest
The Eight Above. More stable is my crest
Than thine -and now I pierce thee, veil of mist!
Even as an arrow from the war-bow springs
I leap -my life is set with loftier things.
I match, & c.
SAMECH ( and the crossing of the Path of Pe)
Now swift, thou azure shaft of fading fire,
Pierce through the rainbow! Swift, O swift! how streams
The world by! Let Sandalphon and his quire
Of Angels ward me!
A part, immutable, unseen,
Being, before itself had been,
Became. Like dew a triple queen
Shone as the void uncovered:
The silence of deep height was drawn
A veil across the silver dawn
On holy wings that hovered.
The music of three thoughts became
The beauty, that is one white flame,
The justice that surpasses shame,
The victory, the splendour,
The sacred fountain that is whirled
From depths beyond that older world
A new world to engender.
The kingdom is extended. Night
Dwells, and I contemplate the sight
That is not seeing, but the light
That secretly is kindled,
Though oft-time its most holy fire
Lacks oil, whene’er my own Desire
Before desire has dwindled.
I see the thin web binding me
With thirteen cords of unity
Toward the calm centre of the sea.
(O thou supernal mother!)
The triple light my path divides
To twain and fifty sudden sides
Each perfect as each other.
Now backwards, inwards still my mind
Must track the intangible and blind,
And seeking, shall securely find
Hidden in secret places
Fresh feasts for every soul that strives,
New life for many mystic lives,
And strange new forms and faces.
My mind still searches, and attains
By many days and many pains
To That which Is and Was and reigns
Shadowed in four and ten;
And loses self in sacred lands,
And cries and quickens, and understands
Beyond the first Amen.
Here rests beneath this hospitable spot
A youth to flats and flatties not unknown.
The Plymouth Brethren gave it to him hot;
Trinity, Cambridge, claimed him for her own.
At chess a minor master, Hoylake set
His handicap a 2. Love drove him crazy;
Thrre thousand women used to call him “pet”;
In other gardens daffodil or daisy?
He climbed a lot of mountains in his time.
He stalked the tiger, bear and elephant.
he wrote a stack of poems, some sublime
Some not. Plays, essays, pictures, tales -my aunt!
He had the gift of laughing at himself.
Most affably he talked and walked with God.
And now the silly bastard’s on the shelf,
We’ve buried him beneath another sod.
Prologue To Rodin In Rime
Nor I can give, nor you can take; endures
The simple truth of me that is yours.
Is not the music mingled with the form
When all the heavens break in blind black storm?
Are we not veiled as Gods, and cruel as they,
Smiting our brilliance on the shuddering clay?
Silence and darkness cover us, confirm
Our splendour to its unappointed term:
For all the men homunculi that dance
Around us shudder at our brilliance.
These puppets perish in the good grand glare,
Our sworded sunlight in the boundless air !
These bats need cloisters; these tame birds a cage;
How should they know the Masters of the Age?
Or understand when the archangels cry
Adoring us Ellên kat’ asterh ei?
Out of the night forth flamed a star -mine own!
Now seventy light-years nearer as I urge
Constant my heart through the abyss unknown,
Its glory my sole guide while space surge
About me. Seventy light-yaers! As I near
That gate of light that men call death, its cold
Pale gleam begins to pulse, a throbbing sphere,
Systole and diastole of eager gold,
New life immortal, wartmth of passion bleed
Till night’s black velvet burn to crimson. Hark!
It is thy voice, Thy word, the secret seed
Of rapture that admonishes the dark.
Swift! By necessity most righteous drawn,
Hermes, authentic augur of the dawn!
Dedicated to Horace Sheridan-Bickers]
A vision of flushed faces, shining limbs,
The madness of the music that entrances
All life in its delirium of dances!
The white world glitters in the void, and swims
Through the infinite seas of transcendental trances.
Yea! all the hoarded seed of all my fancies
Bursts in a shower of suns! The wine-cup brims
And bubbles over; I drink deep hymns
Of sorceries, of spells, of necromancies;
And all my spirit shudders; dew bedims
My sight -these girls and their alluring glances!
Their eyes that burn like dawn’s lascivious lances
Walking all earth to love -to love! Life skims
The cream of joy. If God could see what man sees,
(Intoxicating Nellies, Mauds and Nances!)
I see Him leave the sapphrine expanses,
The choir serene and the celestial air
To swoon into their sacramental hair!
How many million galaxies there are
Who knows? and each has countless stars in it,
And each rolls through eternities afar
Beneath the threshold of the Infinite.
How is it that will all that space to roam
I should have found this mote that spins and leaps
In what unutterable sunlight, foam
Of what unfathomable starry deeps
Who knows!? And how this thousand million souls
And half a thousand million souls of earth
That swarm, all bound for unimagined goals,
All pioneers of death enrolled at birth,
How were they swept away before my sight,
That I might stand upon the single prick
Of infinite space and time as infinite,
Who knows? Yet here I stand, climacteric,
Having found you. Was it by fall of chance?
Then what a stake against what odds I have won!
Was it determined in God’s ordinance?
Then wondrous love and pity for His son!
Or was it part of an eternal law?
Then how ineffably beneficent!
Each thought excites an ecstasy of awe,
A rapture rending the mind’s firmament.
Infinity -yet you and I have met.
Eternity -yet hand in hand we run.
All odds that I should lose you or forget,
But, soul and spirit and body, we are one.
Is this the child of Chance, or Law, or Will?
Is None or All or One to thank for this?
It will not matter if thanksgiving fill
The endless empyrean with a kiss.
The Rose And The Cross
Out of the seething cauldron of my woes,
Where sweets and salt and bitterness I flung;
Where charmed music gathered from my tongue,
And where I chained strange archipelagoes
Of fallen stars; where fiery passion flows
A curious bitumen; where among
The glowing medley moved the tune unsung
Of perfect love: thence grew the Mystic Rose.
Its myriad petals of divided light;
Its leaves of the most radiant emerald;
Its heart of fire like rubies. At the sight
I lifted up my heart to God and called:
How shall I pluck this dream of my desire?
And lo! there shaped itself the Cross of Fire!
AN ATTACK ON BARBERCRAFT
[Dedicated to George Cecil Jones]
At last an end of all I hoped and feared!
Muttered the hermit through his elfin beard.
Then what art thou? the evil whisper whirred.
I doubt me soerly if the hermit heard.
To all God’s questions never a word he said,
But simply shook his venerable head.
God sent all plagues; he laughed and heeded not,
Till people certified him insane.
But somehow all his fellow-luntaics
Began to imitate his silly ticks.
And stranger still, their prospects so enlarged
That one by one the patients were discharged.
God asked him by what right he interfered;
He only laughed and into his elfin beard.
When God revealed Himself to mortal prayer
He gave a fatal opening to Voltaire.
Our Hermi had dispensed with Sinai’s thunder,
But on the other hand he made no blunder;
He knew ( no doubt) that any axiom
Would furnish bricks to build some Donkeydom.
But!-all who urged that hermit to confess
Caught the infection of his happiness.
I would it were my fate to dree his weird;
I think that I will grow an elfin beard.
Nor thou, Habib, nor I are glad,
when rosy limbs and sweat entwine;
But rapture drowns the sense and self,
the wine the drawer of the wine,
And Him that planted first the grape-
o podex, in thy vault there dwells
A charm to make the member mad,
And shake the marrow of the spine.
O member, in thy stubborn strenght
a power avails on podex-sense
To boil the blood in breast and brain;
shudder the nreves incarnadine!
From me thou drawest pearly drink –
and in its pourings both are drunk.
The Iman drives forth the drunken man
from out the marble prayer-shrine.
Blue Mushtari strove with red Mirrikh
which should be master of the night-
But where is Mushtari, where Mirrikh
when in the sky the sun doth shine?
Now El Qahar to Hazif gives
the worship unto poets due : –
But songs are nought and Music all;
what poet music may define?
Allah’s the atheist! he owns
no Allah. Sneer, thou dullard churl!
The Sufi worships not, but drinks,
being himself the all-divine.
Come, my Habib, the roses blush,
the waters gleam, the bulbul sings –
To pierce thy podex El Quahar’s
urgent and and imminent design!
[Dedicated to Austin Osman Spare]
Have pity ! show no pity !
Those eyes that send such shivers
Into my brain and spine : oh let them
Flame like the ancient city
Swallowed up by the sulphurous rivers
When men let angels fret them !
Yea ! let the south wind blow,
And the Turkish banner advance,
And the word go out : No quarter !
But I shall hod thee -so !
While the boys and maidens dance
About the shambles of slaughter !
I know thee who thou art,
The inmost fiend that curlest
Thy vampire tounge about
Earth’s corybantic heart,
Hell’s warrior that whirlest
The darts of horror and doubt !
Thou knowest me who I am
The inmost soul and saviour
Of man ; what hieroglyph
Of the dragon and the lamb
Shall thou and I engrave here
On Time’s inscandescable cliff ?
Look ! in the plished granite,
Black as thy cartouche is with sins,
I read the searing sentence
That blasts the eyes that scan it :
“HOOR and SET be TWINS.”
A fico for repentance !
Ay ! O Son of my mother
That snarled and clawed in her womb
As now we rave in our rapture,
I know thee, I love thee, brother !
Incestuous males that consumes
The light and the life that we capture.
Starve thou the soul of the world,
Brother, as I the body !
Shall we not glut our lust
On these wretches whom Fate hath hurled
To a hell of jesus and shoddy,
Dung and ethics and dust ?
Thou as I art Fate.
Coe then, conquer and kiss me !
Come ! what hinders? Believe me :
This is the thought we await.
The mark is fair ; can you miss me ?
See, how subtly I writhe !
Strange runes and unknown sigils
I trace in the trance that thrills us.
Death ! how lithe, how blithe
Are these male incestuous vigils !
Ah ! this is the spasm that kills us !
Wherefore I solemnly affirm
This twofold Oneness at the term.
Asar on Asi did beget
Horus twin brother unto Set.
Now Set and Horus kiss, to call
The Soul of the Unnatural
Forth from the dusk ; then nature slain
Lets the Beyond be born again.
This weird is of the tongue of Khem,
The Conjuration used of them.
Whoso shall speak it, let him die,
His bowels rotting inwardly,
Save he uncover and caress
The God that lighteth his liesse.
Only the stars endome the lonely camp,
Only the desert leagues encompass it;
Waterless wastes, a wilderness of wit,
Embattled Cold, Imagination’s Cramp.
Now were the Desolation fain to stamp
The congealed Spirit of man into the pit,
Save that, unquenchable because unlit,
The Love of God burns steady, like a Lamp.
It burns ! beyond the sands, beyond the stars.
It burns ! beyond the bands, beyond the bars.
And so the Expanse of Mystery, veil by veil,
Burns inward, plume on plume still folding over
The dissolved heart of the amazéd lover-
The angel wings upon the Holy Grail!
W’aint t’ Aissha.
The serpent dips his head beneath the sea
His mother, source of all his energy
Eternal, thence to draw the strength he needs
On earth to do indomitable dees
Once more; and they, who saw but understood
Naught of his nature of beatitude
Were awed: they murmured with abated breath;
Alas the Master; so he sinks in death.
But whoso knows the mystery of man
Sees life and death as curves of one same plan.
The Five Adorations
I praise Thee, God, whose rays upstart beneath the Bright
and Morning Star:
Nowit asali fardh salat assobhi allahu akbar.
I praise Thee, God, the fierce and swart; at noon Thou ridest
forth to war!
Nowit asali fardh salat assohri allahu akabr.
I praise Thee, God, whose arrows dart their royal radiance
o’er the scar:
Nowit asali fardh salat asasri allahu akabr.
I praise Thee, God, whose fires depart, who drivest down the
sky thy car:
Nowit asali fardh salat al maghrab allahu akabr.
I praise Thee, God, whose purple heart is hidden in the abyss
Nowit asali fardh salat al asha allahu akabr.
DOST ACHIHA KHAN.
The Garden Of Janus
The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.
The vault yet blazes with the sun
Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome
Whose gladiators shock and shun
As the blue night devours them, crested comb
Of sleep’s dead sea
That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!
So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame
Into my bowels; my blood’s bewitched;
My brain’s afloat with ecstasy of shame.
That tearing pain is gone, enriched
By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same
Myself is gone
Sucked by the dragon down below death’s horizon.
I woke from this. I lay upon the lawn;
They had thrown roses on the moss
With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,
My lord and I; God sailed across
The sky in’s galleon of amber, drawn
By singing winds
While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.
All day my lover deigned to murder me,
Linking his kisses in a chain
About my neck; demon-embroidery!
Bruises like far-ff mountains stain
The valley of my body of ivory!
Then last came sleep.
I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?
Nay, for I wept enough — more sacred tears! —
When first he pinned me, gripped
My flesh, and as a stallion that rears,
Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped;
Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears;
Sucked out my life
And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of
I will not weep; nay, I will follow him
Perchance he is not far,
Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim
Depth, where the evening star
May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky’s rim
He makes his prayer
To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.
I rose to seek him. First my footsteps faint
Pressed the starred moss; but soon
I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint,
Into the wood, my mind. The moon
Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint
Hardly one ray
Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.
I wandered, crying on my Lord. I wandered
Eagerly seeking everywhere.
The stories of life that on my lips he squandered
Grew into shrill cries of despair,
Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered
Fled into space —
Like to a demon-king’s was grown my maiden face!
At last I came unto the well, my soul
In that still glass, I saw no sign
Of him, and yet — what visions there uproll
To cloud that mirror-soul of mine?
Above my head there screams a flying scroll
Whose word burnt through
My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.
For in that scroll was written how the globe
Of space became; of how the light
Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe
Of glory; of how One most white
Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe
Of his right Ear,
So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.
Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell,
An incantation, a device
Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible
Wakes from its wilderness of ice
To flame, whereby the very core of hell
Bursts from its rind,
Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.
So then I saw my fault; I plunged within
The well, and brake the images
That I had made, as I must make – Men spin
The webs that snare them – while the knee
Bend to the tyrant God – or unto Sin
The lecher sunder!
Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?
It matters not. Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask!
Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep!
In vain we labour at the loathsome task
Not knowing if we wake or sleep;
But in the end we lift the plumed casque
Of the dead warrior;
Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.
Then I returned into myself, and took
All in my arms, God’s universe:
Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook
His dumbness pregnant with a curse.
I made me ink, and in a little book
I wrote one word
That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.
It detonated. Nature, God, mankind
Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once
Blended, in one annihilation blind
Were rent into a myriad of suns.
Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind
Stood in the abyss,
Belching a Law for “That” more awful than for “This.”
Vain was the toil. So then I left the wood
And came unto the still black sea,
That oily monster of beatitude!
(‘Hath “Thee” for “Me,” and “Me” for “Thee!”)
There as I stood, a mask of solitude
Hiding a face
Wried as a satyr’s, rolled that ocean into space.
Then did I build an altar on the shore
Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round
With star-fish. Thither a green flame I bore
Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground
With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core
Was trembling steel
Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.
With that a goat came running from the cave
That lurked below the tall white cliff.
Thy name! cried I. The answer that gave
Was but one tempest-whisper – “If!”
Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave;
For on soul’s curtain
Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!
So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.
And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
Then all this body’s wealth of ambergris,
(Narcissus-scented flesh of man!)
I burnt before him in the sacrifice;
For he was sure –
Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!
Wherefore, when madness took him at the end,
He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt;
And that which inward did for ever tend
Came at the last to have come out;
And I who had the World and God to friend
Found all three foes!
Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!
Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein;
So they were not, and it was not.
As who should sweat his soul out through the skin
And find (sad fool!) he had begot
All that without him that he had left in,
And in himself
All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!
But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.
Him then I strove to woo, to win,
Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard,
Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin,
By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird
That only I
Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.
So still I conquered, and the vision passed.
Yet still was beaten, for I knew
Myself was He, Himself, the first and last;
And as an unicorn drinks dew
From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast
Into the mire;
For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.
More; in this journey I had clean forgotten
The quest, my lover. But the tomb
Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten,
Proved in the end to be my womb
Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten
A little child
To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!
This child hath not one hair upon his head,
But he hath wings instead of ears.
No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed
Within him on the ordered sphere
Of nature that he hideth; and in stead
Of mouth he hath
One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!
Also his nostrils are shut up; for he
Hath not the need of any breath;
Nor can the curtain of eternity
Cover that head with life or death.
So all his body, a slim almond-tree,
Knoweth no bough
Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.
This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.
I am in him, as he in me;
And like a satyr ravishing a lamb
So either seems, or as the sea
Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram
Beats its own head
Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.
Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!
Pile me the roses and the thorns,
Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!
He may return. A million morns
May follow that first dire daemonic dawn
When he did split
My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!
So I am stretched out naked to the knife,
My whole soul twitching with the stress
Of the expected yet surprising strife,
A martyrdom of blessedness.
Though Death came, I could kiss him into life;
Though Life came, I
Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!
Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam,
Am also none of these at all;
For now that cosmic chaos of I AM
Bursts like a bubble. Mystical
The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame
To be a sign to them who yet have never been.
The universe I measured with my rod.
The blacks were balanced with the whites;
Satan dropped down even as up soared God;
Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.
So in my book the even matched the odd:
No word I wrote
Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.
This also I seal up. Read thou herein
Whose eyes are blind! Thou may’st behold
Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin
All ways) a point of static gold.
Then may’st thou out therewith, and fit it in
That extreme spher
Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.
There never was a face as fair as yours,
A heart as true, a love as pure and keen.
These things endure, if anything endures.
But, in this jungle, what high heaven immures
Us in its silence, the supreme serene
Crowning the dagoba, what destined die
Rings on the table, what resistless dart
Strike me I love you; can you satisfy
The hunger of my heart!
Nay; not in love, or faith, or hope is hidden
The drug that heals my life; I know too well
How all things lawful, and all things forbidden
Alike disclose no pearl upon the midden,
Offer no key to unlock the gate of Hell.
There is no escape from the eternal round,
No hope in love, or victory, or art.
There is no plumb-line long enough to sound
The abysses of my heart!
There no dawn breaks; no sunlight penetrates
Its blackness; no moon shines, nor any star.
For its own horror of itself creates
Malignant fate from all benignant fates,
Of its own spite drives its own angel afar.
Nay; this is the great import of the curse
That the whole world is sick, and not a part.
Conterminous with its own universe
the horror of my heart!
How should I seek to make a song for thee
When all my music is to moan thy name?
That long sad monotone – the same – the same –
Matching the mute insatiable sea
That throbs with life’s bewitching agony,
Too long to measure and too fierce to tame!
An hurtful joy, a fascinating shame
Is this great ache that grips the heart of me.
Even as a cancer, so this passion gnaws
Away my soul, and will not ease its jaws
Till I am dead. Then let me die! Who knows
But that this corpse committed to the earth
May be the occasion of some happier birth?
Spring’s earliest snowdrop? Summer’s latest rose?
Thou knowest what asp hath fixed its lethal tooth
In the white breast that trembled like a flower
At thy name whispered. thou hast marked how hour
By hour its poison hath dissolved my youth,
Half skilled to agonise, half skilled to soothe
This passion ineluctable, this power
Slave to its single end, to storm the tower
That holdeth thee, who art Authentic Truth.
O golden hawk! O lidless eye! Behold
How the grey creeps upon the shuddering gold!
Still I will strive! That thou mayst sweep
Swift on the dead from thine all-seeing steep –
And the unutterable word by spoken.
To-night I tread the unsubstantial way
That looms before me, as the thundering night
Falls on the ocean: I must stop, and pray
One little prayer, and then – what bitter fight
Flames at the end beyond the darkling goal?
These are my passions that my feet must read;
This is my sword, the fervour of my soul;
This is my Will, the crown upon my head.
For see! the darkness beckons: I have gone,
Before this terrible hour, towards the gloom,
Braved the wild dragon, called the tiger on
With whirling cries of pride, sought out the tomb
Where lurking vampires battened, and my steel
Has wrought its splendour through the gates of death
My courage did not falter: now I feel
My heart beat wave-wise, and my throat catch breath
As if I choked; some horror creeps between
The spirit of my will and its desire,
Some just reluctance to the Great Unseen
That coils its nameless terrors, and its dire
Fear round my heart; a devil cold as ice
Breathes somewhere, for I feel his shudder take
My veins: some deadlier asp or cockatrice
Slimes in my senses: I am half awake,
Half automatic, as I move along
Wrapped in a cloud of blackness deep as hell,
Hearing afar some half-forgotten song
As of disruption; yet strange glories dwell
Above my head, as if a sword of light,
Rayed of the very Dawn, would strike within
The limitations of this deadly night
That folds me for the sign of death and sin –
O Light! descend! My feet move vaguely on
In this amazing darkness, in the gloom
That I can touch with trembling sense. There shone
Once, in my misty memory, in the womb
Of some unformulated thought, the flame
And smoke of mighty pillars; yet my mind
Is clouded with the horror of this same
Path of the wise men: for my soul is blind
Yet: and the foemen I have never feared
I could not see (if such should cross the way),
And therefore I am strange: my soul is seared
With desolation of the blinding day
I have come out from: yes, that fearful light
Was not the Sun: my life has been the death,
This death may be the life: my spirit sight
Knows that at last, at least. My doubtful breath
Is breathing in a nobler air; I know,
I know it in my soul, despite of this,
The clinging darkness of the Long Ago,
Cruel as death, and closer than a kiss,
This horror of great darkness. I am come
Into this darkness to attain the light:
To gain my voice I make myself as dumb:
That I may see I close my outer sight:
So, I am here. My brows are bent in prayer:
I kneel already in the Gates of Dawn;
And I am come, albeit unaware,
To the deep sanctuary: my hope is drawn
From wells profounder than the very sea.
Yea, I am come, where least I guessed it so,
Into the very Presence of the Three
That Are beyond all Gods. And now I know
What spiritual Light is drawing me
Up to its stooping splendour. In my soul
I feel the Spring, the all-devouring Dawn,
Rush with my Rising. There, beyond the goal,
The Veil is rent!
Yes: let the veil be drawn.
[Dedicated to Allan Bennett]
Hail to the golden One
Seen in the midmost Sun !
Hail to the golden beard and golden lips,
His whole lige golden to the finger-tips !
Hail to the golden hair in golden showers
Hiding the eyes like blue blue lotus-flowers !
His name is Ut, for He
Hath risen above all things that be.
Ardent and white, the Lord
Whirls forth a strident sword.
Its blade is broader than the great World-Ash ;
Its edge is keener than the lightning flash.
Brighter than all the lights of heaven, it whirls
Out in a chaos of creative curls
And sheathes itself in Me,
Arisen above all things that be.
Even as the burning tongue
Og God to God that clung
Dissolved his being to a nameless naught,
Brake all the wings and waves of time and thought,
So in the quivering flame that hurled
Its founts of life to the remotest world
Supreme stood Death, and sware
Destruction to all things that were !
Child, father, warrior,
I worshipped thee before ;
Friend, bridegroom, now I yield me to the rod.
My God, and very God of very God
As breath, as death, as all, as naught, unknown,
Known, is there not an end, when one alone
Stand I, and thou, and He
Arisen above all things that be?
El Arabi! El Arabi! Burn in thy brilliance, mine own!
O Beautiful! O Barbarous! Seductive as a serpent is
That poises head and hood, and makes his body tremble to the drone
Of tom-tom and of cymbal wooed by love’s assassin sorceries!
El Arabi! El Arabi!
The moon is down; we are alone;
May not our mouths meet, madden, mix, melt in the starlight of a kiss?
There by the palms, the desert’s edge, I drew thee to my heart and held
Thy shy slim beauty for a splendid second; and fell moaning back,
Smitten by Love’s forked flashing rod -as if the uprooted mandrake yelled!
As if I had seen God, and died! I thirst! I writhe upon the rack!
El Arabi! El Arabi!
It is not love! I am compelled
By some fierce fate, a vulture poised, heaven’s single ominous speck of black.
There in the lonely bordj across the dreadful lines of sleeping men,
Swart sons of the Sahara, thou didst writhe slim, sinuous and swift,
Warning me with a viper’s hiss -and was not death upon us then,
No bastard of thy maiden kiss? God’s grace, the all-surpassing gift!
El Arabi! El Arabi!
Yea, death is man’s Elixir when
Life’s pale wine foams and splashes over his imagination’s rim!
El Arabi! El Arabi! witch-amber and obsidian
Thine eyes are, to ensorcell me, and leonine thy male caress.
Will not God grant us Paradise to end the music Earth began?
We play with loaded dice! He cannot choose but raise right hand to bless.
El Arabi! El Arabi!
Great is the love of God and man
While I am trembling in thine arms, wild wanderer of the wilderness!
“Aug.” 10, 1911.
Full moon to-night; and six and twenty years
Since my full moon first broke from angel spheres!
A year of infinite love unwearying —
No circling seasons, but perennial spring!
A year of triumph trampling through defeat,
The first made holy and the last made sweet
By this same love; a year of wealth and woe,
Joy, poverty, health, sickness — all one glow
In the pure light that filled our firmament
Of supreme silence and unbarred extent,
Wherein one sacrament was ours, one Lord,
One resurrection, one recurrent chord,
One incarnation, one descending dove,
All these being one, and that one being Love!
You sent your spirit into tunes; my soul
Yearned in a thousand melodies to enscroll
Its happiness: I left no flower unplucked
That might have graced your garland. I induct
Tragedy, comedy, farce, fable, song,
Each longing a little, each a little long,
But each aspiring only to express
Your excellence and my unworthiness —
Nay! but my worthiness, since I was sense
And spirit too of that same excellence.
So thus we solved the earth’s revolving riddle:
I could write verse, and you could play the fiddle,
While, as for love, the sun went through the signs,
And not a star but told him how love twines
A wreath for every decanate, degree,
Minute and second, linked eternally
In chains of flowers that never fading are,
Each one as sempiternal as a star.
Let me go back to your last birthday. Then
I was already your one man of men
Appointed to complete you, and fulfil
From everlasting the eternal will.
We lay within the flood of crimson light
In my own balcony that August night,
And conjuring the aright and the averse
Created yet another universe.
We worked together; dance and rite and spell
Arousing heaven and constraining hell.
We lived together; every hour of rest
Was honied from your tiger-lily breast.
We — oh what lingering doubt or fear betrayed
My life to fate! — we parted. Was I afraid?
I was afraid, afraid to live my love,
Afraid you played the serpent, I the dove,
Afraid of what I know not. I am glad
Of all the shame and wretchedness I had,
Since those six weeks have taught me not to doubt you,
And also that I cannot live without you.
Then I came back to you; black treasons rear
Their heads, blind hates, deaf agonies of fear,
Cruelty, cowardice, falsehood, broken pledges,
The temple soiled with senseless sacrileges,
Sickness and poverty, a thousand evils,
Concerted malice of a million devils; —
You never swerved; your high-pooped galleon
Went marvellously, majestically on
Full-sailed, while every other braver bark
Drove on the rocks, or foundered in the dark.
Then Easter, and the days of all delight!
God’s sun lit noontide and his moon midnight,
While above all, true centre of our world,
True source of light, our great love passion-pearled
Gave all its life and splendour to the sea
Above whose tides stood our stability.
Then sudden and fierce, no monitory moan,
Smote the mad mischief of the great cyclone.
How far below us all its fury rolled!
How vainly sulphur tries to tarnish gold!
We lived together: all its malice meant
Nothing but freedom of a continent!
It was the forest and the river that knew
The fact that one and one do not make two.
We worked, we walked, we slept, we were at ease,
We cried, we quarrelled; all the rocks and trees
For twenty miles could tell how lovers played,
And we could count a kiss for every glade.
Worry, starvation, illness and distress?
Each moment was a mine of happiness.
Then we grew tired of being country mice,
Came up to Paris, lived our sacrifice
There, giving holy berries to the moon,
July’s thanksgiving for the joys of June.
And you are gone away — and how shall I
Make August sing the raptures of July?
And you are gone away — what evil star
Makes you so competent and popular?
How have I raised this harpy-hag of Hell’s
Malice — that you are wanted somewhere else?
I wish you were like me a man forbid,
Banned, outcast, nice society well rid
Of the pair of us — then who would interfere
With us? — my darling, you would now be here!
But no! we must fight on, win through, succeed,
Earn the grudged praise that never comes to meed,
Lash dogs to kennel, trample snakes, put bit
In the mule-mouths that have such need of it,
Until the world there’s so much to forgive in
Becomes a little possible to live in.
God alone knows if battle or surrender
Be the true courage; either has its splendour.
But since we chose the first, God aid the right,
And damn me if I fail you in the fight!
God join again the ways that lie apart,
And bless the love of loyal heart to heart!
God keep us every hour in every thought,
And bring the vessel of our love to port!
These are my birthday wishes. Dawn’s at hand,
And you’re an exile in a lonely land.
But what were magic if it could not give
My thought enough vitality to live?
Do not then dream this night has been a loss!
All night I have hung, a god, upon the cross;
All night I have offered incense at the shrine;
All night you have been unutterably mine,
Miner in the memory of the first wild hour
When my rough grasp tore the unwilling flower
From your closed garden, mine in every mood,
In every tense, in every attitude,
In every possibility, still mine
While the sun’s pomp and pageant, sign to sign,
Stately proceeded, mine not only so
In the glamour of memory and austral glow
Of ardour, but by image of my brow
Stronger than sense, you are even here and now
Miner, utterly mine, my sister and my wife,
Mother of my children, mistress of my life!
O wild swan winging through the morning mist!
The thousand thousand kisses that we kissed,
The infinite device our love devised
If by some chance its truth might be surprised,
Are these all past? Are these to come? Believe me,
There is no parting; they can never leave me.
I have built you up into my heart and brain
So fast that we can never part again.
Why should I sing you these fantastic psalms
When all the time I have you in my arms?
Why? ’tis the murmur of our love that swells
Earth’s dithyrambs and ocean’s oracles.
But this is dawn; my soul shall make its nest
Where your sighs swing from rapture into rest
Love’s thurible, your tiger-lily breast.
Dedicated to George Raffalovich]
In the Years of the Primal Course, in the dawn of terrestrial
Man mastered the mammoth and horse, and Man was the
Lord of the Earth.
He made him an hollow skin from the heart of an holy tree,
He compassed the earth therien, and Man was the Lord of
He controlled the vigour of steam, he harnessed the light-
ning for hire;
He drove the celestial team, and man was the Lord of the
Deep-mouthed from their thrones deep-seated, the choirs
of the æeons declare
The last of the demons defeated, for Man is the Lord of
Arise, O Man, in thy strength! the kingdom is thine to
Till the high gods witness at lenght that Man is the Lord
of his spirit.
(An Oath wrtitten during the Dawn Meditation)
Aiwaz! Confirm my troth with thee ! my will inspire
With secret sperm of subtle, free, creating Fire!
Mould thou my very flesh as Thine, renew my birth
In childhood merry as divine, enchenated earth!
Dissolve my rapture in Thine own, a sacred slaugther
Whereby to capture and atone the soul of water!
Fill thou my mind with gleaming Thought intense and rare
To One refined, outflung to naught, the Word of Air!
Most, bridal bound, my quintessentil Form thus freeing
From self, be found one Selfhood blent in Spirit Being.
Come to my arms — is it eve? is it morn?
Is Apollo awake? Is Diana reborn?
Are the streams in full song? Do the woods whisper hush
Is it the nightingale? Is it the thrush?
Is it the smile of the autumn, the blush
Of the spring? Is the world full of peace or alarms?
Come to my arms, Laylah, come to my arms!
Come to my arms, though the hurricane blow.
Thunder and summer, or winter and snow,
It is one to us, one, while our spirits are curled
In the crimson caress: we are fond, we are furled
Like lilies away from the war of the world.
Are there spells beyond ours? Are there alien charms?
Come to my arms, Laylah, come to my arms!
Come to my arms! is it life? is it death?
Is not all immortality born of your breath?
Are not heaven and hell but as handmaids of yours
Who are all that enflames, who are all that allures,
Who are all that destroys, who are all that endures?
I am yours, do I care if it heals me or harms?
Come to my arms, Laylah, come to my arms!