Now in my empty heart the crickets’ shout
Re-echoing denies and still denies
With stubborn folly all my learned doubt,
In madness more than I in reason wise.
Life life ! The word is magical. They sing,
And in my darkened soul the great sun shines ;
My fancy blossoms with remembered spring,
And all my autumns ripen on the vines.
Life ! and each knuckle of the fig tree’s pale
Dead skeleton breaks out with emerald fire.
Life ! and the tulips blow, the nightingale
Calls back the rose, calls back the old desire.
And old desire that is for ever new,
Desire* life’s earliest and latest birth.
Life’s instrument to suffer and to do.
Springs with the roses from the teeming earth.
Desire that from the world’s bright body strips
Deforming time and makes each kiss the first ;
That gives to hearts, to satiated lips
The endless bounty of to-morrow’s thirst.
Time passes and the watery moonrise peers
Between the tree-trunks. But no outer light
Tempers the chances of our groping years.
No moon beyond our labyrinthine night.
Clueless we go ; but I have heard thy voice,
Divine unreason ! harping in the leaves.
And grieve no more ; for wisdom never grieves.
And thou hast taught me wisdom ; I rejoice.
–ALDOUS HUXLEY, The Cicadas, and other poems (Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, Doran, 1931). PR6015.U9 C5 1931