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First Line: The crystal bed of agony
Last Line: That he need never leave them any more.
Alternate Author Name(s): Allen, Hervey
Subject(s): Ignorance; Dullness; Stupdity

The crystal bed of agony,
The tile-white room,
Went spinning backward into space;
The tense and intent surgeon's face
That had forgotten mirth
Stayed longest -- and then Richard moved
With time instead of watching it go by
As we do here on earth.

The cold river of the winds
Washed clean his mind,
And such a silence fell
He withered in the soundless hell
Of space; and then the sun's red face
Rimmed half the valley of the sky,
Where tongued heat-lilies bloomed,
And like an albatross at sea
A silent asteroid skimmed by.

Up, with a celestial stride
That passed the van of light,
Death's thought-swift horses ran
Into the sterile frontiers of the sky
Where starless night began,
A bound of eyeless light,
Where meteors like crystals
In their angled shapes blew by.

And then it seemed
A hawk-faced angel
Laid him on an island
That he dreamed to be,
And with a cold draught of pinions passed,
And he awoke beneath
The fending branches of a tree.

It was a winter's night,
And all around him lay a landscape stark,
But for one square-eyed window light --
Towards this he went,
And heard a frantic welcome in the bark
Of hounds he used to know,
Then their cool muzzles in his hands,
While a great door stood wide
And shed the blood of firelight on the snow.

"Richard," his father's voice cried,
"Come in! My son, my son!"
Then both his hands --
Then down a hall
With pictures of the past turned to the wall,
Into a long room, where by the fire
With love upon her eyes
Without desire.
And then a child that he had loved in youth,
Filled all his arms
With a delightful welcome, passionately mild,
And as a drowning man tied to a mast
Might see the little boat put off from shore,
His mother came and cried,
"Oh, Dick, come home at last!"
And thus he knew
That he need never leave them any more.

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