Sophia in Egypt (from Three Meetings)
By then the wordless night had dropped
Down to the ground, simply said.
All about only silence I heard
And, yes, only darkness I saw between the blazing stars.
Lying down on the ground, I watched and listened...
I was startled by the jackal's howl;
It was dreaming, surely, of it's next meal,
And I hadn't even a stick.
Out there, the jackal's hot cry; and here, frigid cold...
Zero degrees, I'd guess -- yet the afternoon had been hot...
The stars sparkled, ruthless and sharp;
Both light and cold cut through my dreams.
And long I lay in troubled sleep,
Then a whisper: Sleep, poor friend, sleep.
And I slept; and later gently roused --
Earth and sky, the whole world smelled of roses!
Agown in heavenly purple glow you stood,
Eyes full of azure fire,
Your gaze was the first blaze
Of world-filling, life-giving day.
What is, what was, what shall forever be --
All, all was held here in one steady gaze...
The seas and rivers blue beneath me,
Distant woods, snow-capped peaks.
I saw all, and all was one --
A single image of womanly beauty...
Pregnant with vastnesses!
Before me, in me -- only You.
Radiant One! You can't fool me:
I saw all of you there in the desert.
In my soul those roses won't wither,
Whichever way the day may whirl.
Yet but an instant! And the vision veiled.
The sun climbed the sky's dome.
Silence, desert silence. And so my soul prayed;
While within: an endless celebration of bells!
Full, my spirit filled with strength! But empty, I hadn't eaten for two days,
And my far seeing faded.
Alas! However sensitive the soul,
Famine is no friend, as they say.
Along the Nile I followed the sun's way west
And by evening come home to Cairo.
My soul held tracings of your rose smiles,
While my boots couldn't hide their many holes.
Still the slave of the vain world's mind,
But beneath rough matter's rind,
I've clearly seen eternal violet, rich royal purple,
And felt the warm touch of divine light!
Triumphing over death in wisdom's light,
Stilling the dream of time from its unyielding flight,
Eternal Beloved, your name is held hid by my utmost plight,
And forgive my timorous song!
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