Old Age

Hidden I wait—this old husk suits me
Well—for who will guess the likeness of me through it?
This is my INVISIBLE CAP wherein I’ll ramble
Yet thro’ many byways of sweet human life
Old age, old age?—no I—only there outside,
Here where I am ’tis everlasting youth.
I accept you altogether—as the sea accepts the fish that swims in it.
It is no good apologizing for anything you have done,
For you have never been any where yet but
What I have sustained you—
And beyond my boundaries you cannot go.
I am he that beholds and praises the universe, Singing all day like a bird among the branches,
And the leaves put forth and the young buds burst,
Asunder—yet I myself do nothing at all.
But dwelt in the midst of them singing

* * * * *
You cannot baulk me of my true life
Climbing over the barriers of pain—
of my own meaknesses and sins—I escape.
Where will you hold me? By the feet, hands?—
by my personal vanity?— Would you shut me in the mirror-lined prism of self-consciousness?
Behold! I acknowledge all my defects—you
Cannot snap the handcuffs faster on me than
I snap them myself—I am vain, deceitful, and cowardly—
Yet I escape.
The handcuffs hold me not, out of my own hands
I draw myself out of a glove; from behind
The empty mask of my reputed qualities I deport,
And am gone my way,

Unconcerned what I leave behind me
Into the high air which surrounds and sustains the world,
Breathing life, intoxicating, with joy unutterable, radiant,
As the winds of spring when the dead leaves fly before it—
I depart and am gone my way.

* * * * *
Fly messenger! thro’ the streets of the cities ankle-plumed Mercury fly!
Swift sinewy runner with arm held upon high! Naked along the wind, thy beautiful feet
Glancing over the mountains under the sun,
By meadows and water-sides, into the great towns like a devouring flame-
Thro’ slams and vapours and dismal suburban streets,
With startling of innumerable eyes—fly, messenger, fly! Joy, joy! The glad news!

* * * * *
Beware! For I am the storm, I care nought for your rights of property. I will make your riches a mockery.
The curse of property shall cling to thee;
With burdened brow and heavy heart, weary, incapable of joy, without gaiety,
Thou shalt crawl a stranger in the land that I made for thy enjoyment.
The smallest bird on thy estate shall sing in freedom in the branches—the plough-boy shall whistle in the furrow –

But thou shalt be weary and lonely—forsaken and an alien among men.
For just in as much as thou hast shut thyself off from one of thy least of these my children, thou hast shut thyself off from Me.
I the Lord Demos have spoken it—and the mountains are my throne,

There is no peace except where I am:
Though you have health—that which is called health—
Yet without me it is only the fair covering of disease.
Him who is not detained by mortal adhesions, who walks in this world yet not of it –
Taking part in everything with equal mind, with free limbs and seines unentangled,

Giving all, accepting all, using all, enjoying all, asking nothing shocked at nothing –
Whom love follows everywhere, but he follows not it—
Him all creatures worship — all men and women bless.

* * * * *
Love is a disease if it impairs the freedom of thy soul.
Make it thy slave, and all the miracles of nature
Shall lie in the palm of thy hand
Do you wish to become beautiful?
You must undo the wrappings, not case yourself in fresh ones;
Not by multiplying knowledge shall you beautify your mind;
It is not the food that you eat that has to vivify you, but you that have to vivify the food-

* * * * *
Of that far end
To which life and change and progress
Shape your destiny,
You cannot jail,
There is no place where nature errs;
There are no laws
That of expression fail
No elements mistake affinities
You cannot fail

No change nor circumstance
Defeats the end
To which you live.
What you may be
What shall attain,
Nor e’er can change;
For in perfection of the whole
Is every part involved
You cannot fail.

Eat thou the bread which men refuse;
Flee from the goods which from thee flee;
Seek nothing,Fortune seeketh Thee;
Nor scour the seas, nor sift mankind,
A poet or a friend to find.
Behold, he watches at the door!
Behold his shadow on the floor!
Seek not beyond thy cottage wall
Redeemers that can yield thee all,
While thou sittest at thy door
On the desert’s yellow floor,
Then the secret stands revealed
Fraudulent Time in vain concealed,
That blessed gods in servile masks
Piled for thee thy household tasks.

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