The sun shines, as of old; the stars look down from heaven; the moon, crescent, sails in the twilight; on bushy tops in the warm nights, naked, with mad dance and song, the earth-children address themselves to love;

Civilisation sinks and swims, but the old facts remain – the sun smiles, knowing well its strength.

The little red stars appear once more on the hazel boughs, shining among the catkins; over waste lands the pewit tumbles and cries as at the first day; men with horses go out on the land – they shout and chide and strive – and return again glad at evening; the old earth breathes deep and rhythmically, night and day, summer and winter, giving and concealing herself.

I arise out of the dewy night and shake my wings.

Tears and lamentations are no more. Life and death lie stretched below me. I breathe the sweet aether blowing of the breath of God.

Deep as the universe is my life – and I know it; nothing can dislodge the knowledge of it; nothing can destroy, nothing can harm me.

Joy, joy arises – I arise. The sun darts overpowering piercing rays of joy through me, the night radiates it from me.

I take wings through the night and pass through all the wildernesses of the worlds, and the old dark holds of tears and death – and return with laughter, laughter, laughter:

Sailing through the starlit spaces on outspread wings, we two – O laughter! laughter! laughter!


Edward Carpenter


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