Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PIT OF BLISS, by JAMES STEPHENS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE PIT OF BLISS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When I was young
Last Line: Of everything, and anything!


When I was young
I dared to sing
Of everything,
And anything!
Of joy, and woe, and fate, and God!
Of dreaming cloud, and teeming sod!
Of hill, that thrust an amber spear
Into the sunset! And the sheer
Precipice that shakes the soul
To its black gape -- I sang the whole
Of God and Man, nor sought to know
Man, or God, or Joy, or Woe!
And, though an older wight I be,
My soul hath still such Ecstasy
That, on a pulse, I sing and sing
Of Everything, and Anything!


There is a Light
Shines in the head:
It is not gold,
It is not red,
But, as the lightning's blinding light,
It is a stare of silver white
That one surmise might fancy blue!
On that mind-blinding hue I gaze
An instant, and am in a maze
Of thinking -- could one call it so?
It is no thinking that I know!
-- An hurricane of Knowing, that
Could whelm the soul that was not pat
To flinch, and lose the deadly thing;
-- And Sing, and Sing again, and Sing
Of Everything, and Anything!


An Eagle
Whirling up the sky;
Sunblind! Dizzy!
Urging high,
And higher beating yet a wing,
Until he can no longer cling,
Or hold; or do a thing, but fall,
And sink, and whirl, and scream, through all
His dizzy, heaven-hell of Pit,
In mile-a-minute flight from It
That he had dared! From height of height,
So the Poet takes his flight
And tumble in the Pit of Bliss!
And, in the roar of that Abyss,
And falling, he will Sing and Sing
Of Everything, and Anything!


What is Knowing?
'Tis to see!
What is Feeling?
'Tis to be!
What is Love? But, more and more,
To See and Be! To be a Pour
And Avalanche of Being, till
Being ceases, and is still
For very motion -- What is Joy?
-- Being, past all earthly cloy
And intermixture! Being spun
Of Itself is Being won
That is Joy -- And this is God,
To be That, in cloud and clod!
And, in cloud, and clod, to Sing
Of Everything, and Anything!

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