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This book is a work of poetry; its contents are wholly imagined.
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THE PROSELYTE RECANTS
LOVE IN JAPAN
MAPLE LEAVES ON MIYAJIMA
WHEN THE WIND IS LOW
THE PAGODA SLAVE
THE SHIPS OF THE SEA
THE BARREN WOMAN
BY THE TAJ MAHAL
IN A TROPICAL GARDEN
THE WIND’S WORD
THE SHRINE OF SHRINES
FROM A FELUCCA
THE EGYPTIAN WAKES
THE IMAM’S PARABLE
SONGS OF A SEA-FARER
A SONG OF THE SECTS
The Armenian sings
The Latin sings
The Copt sings
The Greek sings
The Four again
DUSK AT HIROSHIMA
IN A SHINTO TEMPLE GARDEN
ON MIYAJIMA MOUNTAIN
ON THE YANG-TSE-KIANG
THE CHRISTIAN IN EXILE
THE PARSEE WOMAN
SHAH JEHAN TO MUMTAZ MAHAL
A SINGHALESE LOVE LAMENT
ON THE ARABIAN GULF
THE CROSS OF THE SEPULCHRE
THE MAN OF MIGHT
IN TIME OF AWE
SUNRISE IN UTAH
The illimitable leaping of the sea,
The mouthing of his madness to the moon,
The seething of his endless sorcery,
His prophecy no power can attune,
Swept over me as, on the sounding prow
Of a great ship that steered into the stars,
I stood and felt the awe upon my brow
Of death and destiny and all that mars.
The wind that blew from Cassiopeia cast
Wanly upon my ear a rune that rung;
The sailor in his eyrie on the mast
Sang an “All’s well,” that to the spirit clung
Like a lost voice from some aërial realm
Where ships sail on forever to no shore,
Where Time gives Immortality the helm,
And fades like a far phantom from life’s door.
“And is all well, O Thou Unweariable
Launcher of worlds upon bewildered space,”
Rose in me, “All? or did thy hand grow dull
Building this world that bears a piteous race?
O was it launched too soon or launched too late?
Or can it be a derelict that drifts
Beyond thy ken toward some reef of Fate
On which Oblivion’s sand forever shifts?”
The sea grew softer as I questioned—calm
With mystery that like an answer moved,
And from infinity there fell a balm,
The old peace that God is, tho all unproved.
The old faith that tho gulfs sidereal stun
The soul, and knowledge drown within their deep,
There is no world that wanders, no not one
Of all the millions, that He does not keep.
Where the fair golden idols
Sit in darkness and in silence
While the temple drum beats solemnly and slow;
Where the tall cryptomerias
Sway in worship round about
And the rain that is falling whispers low;
I can hear strange voices
Of the dead and forgotten,
On the dimly rising incense I can see
The lives I have lived,
And my lives unbegotten,
Namu Amida Butsu pity me!
I was born this karma
Of a mother in Chuzenji,
Where Nantai-zan looks down into the lake;
Where the white-thronged pilgrims
Climb to altars in the clouds
And behold the holy eastern dawn awake.
It was there I wandered
Till a priest of the Christians
With the crucifix he wore compelled my gaze.
In grief I had grown,
So upon its grief I pondered.
Namu Amida Butsu, keep my days!
It was wrong, he told me,
To pray Jiso for my children,
And Binzuru for healing of my ills.
And our gods so many
Were conceived, he said, in sin,
From Lord Shaka to the least upon the hills.
In despair I listened
For my heart beat hopeless,
Not a temple of my land had helped me live.
But alas that day
When I let my soul be christened!
Namu Amida Butsu, O forgive!
For the Christ they gave me
As the only Law and Lotus,
As the only way to Light that will not wane,
May perchance have power
For the people of the West,
But to me he seemed the servitor of pain.
For in pain he perished
As one born to passion: