Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AVILA, by GEORGE SANTAYANA

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AVILA, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Again my feet are on the fragrant moor
Last Line: The light of all his loves and all his days.
Subject(s): Castile, Spain; Desire

Again my feet are on the fragrant moor
Amid the purple uplands of Castile,
Realm proudly desolate and nobly poor,
Scorched by the sky's inexorable zeal.

Wide desert where a diadem of towers
Above Adaja hems a silent town,
And locks, unmindful of the mocking hours,
Her twenty temples in a granite crown.

The shafts of fervid light are in the sky,
And in my heart the mysteries of yore.
Here the sad trophies of my spirit lie:
These dead fulfilled my destiny before.

Like huge primeval stones that strew this plain,
Their nameless sorrows sink upon my breast,
And like this ardent sky their cancelled pain
Smiles at my grief and quiets my unrest.

For here hath mortal life from age to age
Endured the silent hand that makes and mars,
And, sighing, taken up its heritage
Beneath the smiling and inhuman stars.

Still o'er this town the crested castle stands,
A nest for storks, as once for haughty souls;
Still from the abbey, where the vale expands,
The curfew for the long departed tolls,

Wafting some ghostly blessing to the heart
From prayer of nun or silent Capuchin,
To heal with balm of Golgotha the smart
Of weary labour and distracted sin.

What fate has cast me on a tide of time
Careless of joy and covetous of gold,
What force compelled to weave the pensive rhyme
When loves are mean, and faith and honour old,

When riches crown in vain men's sordid lives,
And learning chokes a mind of base degree?
What winged spirit rises from their hives?
What heart, revolting, ventures to be free?

Their pride will sink and more ignobly fade
Without memorial of its hectic fire.
What altars shall survive them, where they prayed?
What lovely deities? What riven lyre?

Tarry not, pilgrim, but with inward gaze
Pass daily, musing, where their prisons are,
And o'er the ocean of their babble raise
Thy voice in greeting to thy changeless star.

Abroad a tumult, and a ruin here;
Nor world nor desert hath a home for thee.
Out of the sorrows of the barren year
Build thou thy dwelling in eternity.

Let patience, faith's wise sister, be thy heaven,
And with high thoughts necessity alloy.
Love is enough, and love is ever given,
While fleeting days bring gift of fleeting joy.

The little pleasures that to catch the sun
Bubble a moment up from being's deep,
The glittering sands of passion as they run,
The merry laughter and the happy sleep, --

These are the gems that, like the stars on fire,
Encrust with glory all our heaven's zones;
Each shining atom, in itself entire,
Brightens the galaxy of sister stones,

Dust of a world that crumbled when God's dream
To throbbing pulses broke the life of things,
And mingled with the void the scattered gleam
Of many orbs that move in many rings,

Perchance at last into the parent sun
To fall again and reunite their rays,
When God awakes and gathers into one
The light of all his loves and all his days.

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