At the back of beyond, depths of forest the setting,
in my hut out at Sami, twilight’s gleam a mere token,
I’ve met with who’s strongest, with death I have spoken,
and he came there to teach me both rest and forgetting.
And I said to him: - "You, all sleepers’ own brother,
you may call yourself strong, come and go at your leisure,
you are dreams, you are smoke, just a notion’s your measure,
and a tired man’s thinking’s your feeble old mother.
And if this is not so, I would ask you to answer
your own and life’s riddle, so long in your keeping:
why things never come true , why so many stand weeping,
why the strong and young gravewards still follow the dancer?”
And he spoke like smooth honey which angels delight in
and his words made one drowsy, were powerful and leaden
as when aspen leaves sing their farewell when they redden
was the wayfarer king of the night’s voice inviting.
“You stare at the earth that will lull and conceal you,
that’s deepest and largest and last put together,
and one day when your questioning eyes break for ever
is earth the black answer needed to heal you.”
In my hut out at Sami, my smoked pipe beside me
like a dreamer I heard now the grave-man still speaking,
and when all becomes nothing there’ll be no comfort-seeking,
then his drowsy truth’s easily grasped here inside me.
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