Martin Lings – Collected Poems (1981)
‘through a glass darkly’
The world and we are a watch through the night.
Half open eyes and ears, vigil
Between sleep and wake, not sleep nor wake,
Not pure repose of peace, nor live
Warmth of consciousness that wells like a spring.
Human happinesses are the half-heard strains
Of remote music; of remote splendours
A glimpse and they are gone into the grey darkness,
Forms that loom up in fog, to vanish.
Shadows of shadows of the shadow of His Face;
Echoes of echoes of the echoe of His Word.
The shadows pass, the Substance remains.
Multitudes of tomorrows melt into yesterday
Save One that will dawn as Today without end,
Has already dawned and risen is its Sun
For him who is awake, whose heart is a full moon.
Holy witness of the wealth it reflects.
It beams forth what it sees, bright in our darkness,
For us moonlight, but for the moon daylight
From a Fountain in flood ever-flowing. In that Day
The singer of the Psalms no shadow has for Love;
Jacob rejoices in Joseph forever.
Truth, All-Knowing, Eternal, Lord
Of the Absolute Day beyond day and night,
Infinite Beatitude, answer us, guide us
Over the surge of this sea of shadows, this vast
Ocean of echoes, that on the ultimate shore
We may behold, and hear, and have, and be.
Image: Hishida Shunsō (1874 - 1911)