Cale Young Rice

(1872-1943 / United States)

The Mystic


There is a quest that calls me,
   In nights when I am lone,
The need to ride where the ways divide
   The Known from the Unknown.
I mount what thought is near me
   And soon I reach the place,
The tenuous rim where the Seen grows dim
   And the Sightless hides its face.

   ~I have ridden the wind,
   I have ridden the sea,
   I have ridden the moon and stars.
   I have set my feet in the stirrup seat
   Of a comet coursing Mars.
   And everywhere
   Thro' the earth and air
   My thought speeds, lightning-shod,
   It comes to a place where checking pace
   It cries, "Beyond lies God!"~

It calls me out of the darkness,
   It calls me out of sleep,
"Ride! ride! for you must, to the end of Dust!"
   It bids -- and on I sweep
To the wide outposts of Being,
   Where there is Gulf alone --
And thro' a Vast that was never passed
   I listen for Life's tone.

   ~I have ridden the wind,
   I have ridden the night,
   I have ridden the ghosts that flee
   From the vaults of death like a chilling breath
   Over eternity.
   And everywhere
   Is the world laid bare --
   Ether and star and clod --
   Until I wind to its brink and find
   But the cry, "Beyond lies God!"~

It calls me and ever calls me!
   And vainly I reply,
"Fools only ride where the ways divide
   What Is from the Whence and Why"!
I'm lifted into the saddle
   Of thoughts too strong to tame
And down the deeps and over the steeps
   I find -- ever the same.

   ~I have ridden the wind,
   I have ridden the stars,
   I have ridden the force that flies
   With far intent thro' the firmament
   And each to each allies.
   And everywhere
   That a thought may dare
   To gallop, mine has trod --
   Only to stand at last on the strand
   Where just beyond lies God.~

I would I might forget that I am I

I would I might forget that I am I,
   And break the heavy chain that binds me fast,
   Whose links about myself my deeds have cast.
What in the body's tomb doth buried lie
Is boundless; 't is the spirit of the sky,
   Lord of the future, guardian of the past,
   And soon must forth, to know his own at last.
In his large life to live, I fain would die.

Happy the dumb beast, hungering for food,
   But calling not his suffering his own;
Blessed the angel, gazing on all good,
   But knowing not he sits upon a throne;
Wretched the mortal, pondering his mood,
   And doomed to know his aching heart alone.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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