An hour before sunrise,

The moon low in the East,

Soon it will pass the sun.

The Morning Star hangs like a

Lamp, beside the crescent,

Above the greying horizon.

The air warm, perfumed,

An unseasonably warm,

Rainy Autumn, nevertheless

The leaves turn color, contour

By contour down the mountains.

I watch the wavering,

Coiling of the smoke of a

Stick of temple incense in

The rays of my reading lamp.

Moonlight appears on my wall

As though I raised it by

Incantation. I go out

Into the wooded garden

And walk, nude, except for my

Sandals, through light and dark banded

Like a field of sleeping tigers.

Our raccoons watch me from the

Walnut tree, the opossums

Glide out of sight under the

Woodpile. My dog Ch’ing is asleep.

So is the cat. I am alone

In the stillness before the

First birds wake. The night creatures

Have all gone to sleep. Blackness

Looms at the end of the garden,

An impenetrable cube.

A ray of the Morning Star

Pierces a shaft of moon-filled mist.

A naked girl takes form

And comes toward me — translucent,

Her body made of infinite

Whirling points of light, each one

A galaxy, like clouds of

Fireflies beyond numbering.

Through them, star and moon

Still glisten faintly. She comes

To me on imperceptibly

Drifting air, and touches me

On the shoulder with a hand

Softer than silk. She says

“Lover, do you know what Heart

You have possessed?”

Before I can answer, her

Body flows into mine, each

Corpuscle of light merges

With a corpuscle of blood or flesh.

As we become one the world

Vanishes. My self vanishes.

I am dispossessed, only

An abyss without limits.

Only dark oblivion

Of sense and mind in an

Illimitable Void.

Infinitely away burns

A minute red point to which

I move or which moves to me.

Time fades away. Motion is

Not motion. Space becomes Void.

A ruby fire fills all being.

It opens, not like a gate,

Like hands in prayer that unclasp

And close around me.

Then nothing. All senses ceased.

No awareness, nothing,

Only another kind of knowing

Of an all encompassing

Love that has consumed all being.

Time has had a stop.

Space is gone.

Grasping and consequence

Never existed. The aeons have fallen away.


Suddenly I am standing

In my garden, nude, bathed in

The hot brilliance of the new

Risen sun — star and crescent gone into light.                  

[Kenneth Rexroth, The Silver Swan (1976). Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press]



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