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Though Aldous Huxley is primarily remembered for his novels, and to a lesser extent his essays, he began his writing career as a poet. While a student at Balliol College at Oxford, having been exempted from military service due to extremely poor eyesight, he was involved in several student poetry magazines. In September 1916 his first book of poetry, "The Burning Wheel", appeared.
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Copyright © 2017 by Aldous Huxley
Published by Endymion Press
Interior design by Pronoun
Distribution by Pronoun
THE BURNING WHEEL.
DOORS OF THE TEMPLE.
VILLIERS DE L’ISLE-ADAM.
THE TWO SEASONS.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME OF LAFORGUE.
PHILOCLEA IN THE FOREST.
BOOKS AND THOUGHTS.
“CONTRARY TO NATURE AND ARISTOTLE.”
THE IDEAL FOUND WANTING.
THE HIGHER SENSUALISM.
PERILS OF THE SMALL HOURS.
RETURN TO AN OLD HOME.
Wearied of its own turning,
Distressed with its own busy restlessness,
Yearning to draw the circumferent pain—
The rim that is dizzy with speed—
To the motionless centre, there to rest,
The wheel must strain through agony
On agony contracting, returning
Into the core of steel.
And at last the wheel has rest, is still,
Shrunk to an adamant core:
Fulfilling its will in fixity.
But the yearning atoms, as they grind
Closer and closer, more and more
Fiercely together, beget
A flaming fire upward leaping,
Billowing out in a burning,
Passionate, fierce desire to find
The infinite calm of the mother’s breast.
And there the flame is a Christ-child sleeping,
Bright, tenderly radiant;
All bitterness lost in the infinite
Peace of the mother’s bosom.
But death comes creeping in a tide
Of slow oblivion, till the flame in fear
Wakes from the sleep of its quiet brightness
And burns with a darkening passion and pain,
Lest, all forgetting in quiet, it perish.
And as it burns and anguishes it quickens,
Begetting once again the wheel that yearns—
Sick with its speed—for the terrible stillness
Of the adamant core and the steel-hard chain.
And so once more
Shall the wheel revolve till its anguish cease
In the iron anguish of fixity;
Till once again
Flame billows out to infinity,
Sinking to a sleep of brightness
In that vast oblivious peace.
Many are the doors of the spirit that lead
Into the inmost shrine:
And I count the gates of the temple divine,
Since the god of the place is God indeed.
And these are the gates that God decreed
Should lead to his house:—kisses and wine,
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