Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SHEKLA: A VISION, by HARRY RANDOLPH BLYTHE



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SHEKLA: A VISION, by            
First Line: Shekla's magic island lay
Last Line: Writes this tale of shekla here.
Subject(s): Death; Disasters; Heaven; Love; Sailing & Sailors; Seashore; Shipwrecks; Dead, The; Paradise; Seamen; Sails; Beach; Coast; Shore


SHEKLA'S magic island lay
Three days' voyaging from Cathay
In the vast Pacific sea,
Shrouded in mute mystery.

Ships that passed it ere the sun
All his flaming course had run,
Only saw the crested waves
Frothing o'er the coral caves.

But when Dian's shield of light
Hung across the dome of night,
Sailors sometimes in a dream
Caught the sparkle of its gleam.

None stepped foot on Shekla's isle,
No man felt her soulful smile,
Saving him who with a tear
Writes this tale of Shekla here.

From a great ship wrecked afar,
Clinging fiercely to a spar,
With that chance beyond belief
I was swept on Shekla's reef.

In the darkness deep as death,
Shorn of sense and conscious breath,
Lay I desolate and lone
On the ragged ledge of stone.

Prostrate there as in death's hour,
Pressed by some weird force of power,
Suddenly with light intense
Shone a great magnificence.

Like an iridescent land
Painted by a master hand,
Forged of flame which felt not warm,
Shekla's island leaped to form.

Scarce three furlongs' length of shore
Girt its soft, ethereal floor,
All about the filmy lea
Washed the waves of crystal sea.

I was lying on a lawn
Where the grass grew white as dawn,
Near a brook of lucent hue
Running water pure as dew.

Sheer beside me was a grove
Wherein angel-souls might rove;
Shadowless, like pure desire,
All the trees were living fire.

Flashing in the brilliant night,
Shaped of solid diamond-light,
Wondrous, dominating all, —
This was Shekla's palace hall.

Near the gates in gorgeous bowers
Bloomed the subtle spirit flowers;
From my place the palace lay
Huge, transparent, bright as day.

From her nacreous island ways,
Radiant, stately, passing praise,
Like a flame of life came she,
Shekla, hovering over me.

At her word my startled eyes
Opened wide in wild surprise,
Even now my pulses stir
At the loveliness of her.

Silently she bore me up,
To my parched lips pressed a cup,
And on cloth of light she placed
Food which mortals never taste.

Shekla's being seemed to glow
Grace which only dreamers know,
As they glimpse within the real
God's impalpable ideal.

Soft as sleep her gentle voice
Whispered, "Follow and rejoice!"
Then she led me, half in fright,
Down the halls of limpid light.

Banked by steps aflame yet cool,
In the palace court a pool
Lay with silent, crimson brink, —
Here she bade me kneel and drink.

"Wait!" I cried in vague alarm,
Shaken by the sense of harm,
"Who art thou? Make answer, lest
I should scorn thy strange request."

Accents fell from her fair lips
Soft as touch of finger tips,
Smiling gravely down she said,
"Knowest not that thou art dead?

"Ended are thy years of strife,
His blood is the blood of life;
Drinking it thou shalt remain
Where the King of Kings doth reign.

"This isle where thou late were hurled
Is the mystic other world;
This the palace He hath built,
Thine to live in if thou wilt."

"Why dost thou behold in fear
Her thou once hath held so dear?
I am she who passed before
To the unknown spirit-shore.

"Drink! and henceforth thou shalt live
Of the bread which He shall give;
Drink, and thou hast reached the goal
Of thine own immortal soul."

"Who art thou?" again I cried,
"Many dear to me have died."
"I am thy soul's soul," said she,
"Hast thy love lost memory?"

"Beauteous woman! Sorceress!
I distrust thy artfulness.
Blaspheme not her precious name,
She and thou art not the same.

"By her pure and lovelit face,
By her simple, girlish grace,
I should know her soul for mine
Whether human or divine.

"Thou art not as she has been;
Prove that thou art of my kin,
Give the sign and speak the word
Which my human ear hath heard."

Grave of voice she turned away:
"In the realm of endless day
Doubt is not, nor moth, nor rust,
All is joy and love and trust.

"Tall and changed, I seem to stand,
Soul-grown in this sinless land;
If thou trust, thou too shalt grow,
If thou trust not, rise and go.

"Who drinks not His precious blood
Never joins the happy Good,
Thou must live on earth again
Learning faith and trust from men.

"Sometime in the future years
Purified by trial and tears,
Swept by life's o'erwhelming tide,
Thou shalt come here fearless-eyed."

As she ceased and gently turned,
Waiting, while my pulses burned,
Palsied then by demon doubt
At my word she led me out.

Shekla spoke and swift I saw
Other isles of dazzling awe;
Past the spot where I was hurled
Lay the lovely spirit world.

What I deemed but barren sea
Blazed in peerless pageantry;
Like huge stars His mansions shone,
Each in splendor of its own.

Begging then, a maddened fool,
For her guidance to the pool,
She gave answer stern as fate,
"Know that now it is too late."

Fast as lightning flashes, so
Woke I to the world of woe;
Where had loomed her beauteous form
Crashed the fierce Pacific storm.

On that fragile ledge of reef
Clutched by sharpest fangs of grief,
There I lay till morning pale
Brought to me the saving sail.

None has since seen Shekla's isle,
No man feels her soulful smile
Saving him who with a tear
Writes this tale of Shekla here.





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