The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.
I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light,
and pursued my voyage through the wildernesses of worlds
leaving my track on many a star and planet.
It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself,
and that training is the most intricate which leads
to the utter simplicity of a tune.
The traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own,
and one has to wander through all the outer worlds
to reach the innermost shrine at the end.
My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them
and said ‘Here art thou!’
The question and the cry ‘Oh, where?’
Melt into tears of a thousand streams
and deluge the world with the blood of the assurance ‘I am!’
Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat,
only thou and I,
and never a soul in the world would know of this
our pilgrimage to no country and to no end.
In that shoreless ocean, at thy silently listening smile
my songs would swell in melodies,
free as waves,
free from all bondage of words.
Is the time not come yet?
Are there works still to do?
Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore
and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when the chains will be off,
and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset,
vanish into the night?
The day was when I did not keep myself in readiness for thee;
and entering my heart unbidden even as one of the common crowd,
unknown to me, my king,
thou didst press the signet of eternity upon many a fleeting moment of my life.
And today when by chance I light upon them and see thy signature,
I find they have lain scattered in the dust
mixed with the memory of joys and sorrows of my trivial days forgotten.
Thou didst not turn in contempt from my childish play among dust,
and the steps that I heard in my playroom
are the same that are echoing from star to star.
Thou are the sky and thou art the nest as well.
Oh thou beautiful, there in the nest
it is thy love that encloses the soul
with colours and sounds and odours.
There comes the morning with the golden basket in her right hand
bearing the wreath of beauty, silently to crown the earth.
And there comes the evening over the lonely meadows deserted by herds,
through trackless paths, carrying cool draughts of peace in her golden pitcher
from the western ocean of rest.
But there, where spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take her flight in, reigns the stainless white radiance.
There is no day nor night, nor form nor colour, and never, never a word.
Is it beyond thee to be glad with the gladness of this rhythm?
To be tossed and lost and broken in the whirl of this fearful joy?
All things rush on, they stop not,
they look not behind, no power can hold them back, they rush on.
Keeping steps with that restless, rapid music,
seasons come dancing and pass away-
colours, tunes, and perfumes pour in endless cascades
in the abounding joy that scatters
and gives up and dies every moment.
On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time.
But it is never lost, my lord.
Thou hast taken every moment of my life in thine own hands.
Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts,
buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.
I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed and imagined all work had ceased.
In the morning I woke up and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.
Time is endless in thy hands, my lord.
There is none to count thy minutes.
Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers.
Thou knowest how to wait.
Thy centuries follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.
We have no time to lose,
and having no time we must scramble for our chances.
We are too poor to be late.
And thus it is that time goes by
while I give it to every querulous man who claims it,
and thine altar is empty of all offerings to the last.
At the end of the day I hasten in fear lest thy gate be shut;
but I find that yet there is time.
I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life.
What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery,
like a bud in the forest at midnight!
When in the morning I looked upon the light
I felt in a moment that I was no stranger in this world,
that the inscrutable without name and form
had taken me in its arms in the form of my own mother.
Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to me.
And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well.
The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes it away,
in the very next moment to find in the left one its consolation.