Renunciation (Howard)


By the crimson cliffs where the spray is blown

By the silver sands and the rose red stone,

There bides a shadow—alone, all alone—

Waiting the day, waiting the day.

The wind comes out of the East at morn,

When the sheen of the sea is green,

The wind comes up from the Matterhorn

And the great red ships careen.

The gulls carved white in the blasting blue,

Their wings are silver and snow;

They hear the great tides thunder through

To beat on the beach below—

They hear waves hammer on sands below,

The clash and the clamor, the flee and the flow,

The magic and wonder of reef riven thunder,

The sands going under the spray white as snow.

The sunset is calling,

The dawn’s on the lea;

The silence is falling

Across the white sea,

And dim through the scorn of a morn on the Horn

The galliots, galleys and galleons flee.

To the ends of the earth

And the roads of the world,

To the ocean’s broad girth,

With their banners unfurled—

Will you laugh in the bend of a curse when the shout of the

Trade wind is hurled?

Or bide in the market place while the beard of a king is hurled?

Oh, follow the shadows

Across the high meadows,

To dreaming green uplands where walls of the mountains

Like purple tall towers

Encastle the hours,

And showers of flowers discover the fountains.

Follow the river

Where wild willows part,

Where shadow trees shiver

And winds start and dart—

The whiter the soul is,

The brighter the goal is,

The blacker the troll is

That eats at the heart.

Leave men to their labor with lust for a neighbor,

Leave minstrel to tabor, the king to the crown,

Great blossoms still quiver along the dim river,

And winds out of silence steal over the down.

There are Beings of twilight

As thin as the mist,

They seek not the highlight,

The stars they have kissed.

They rape not the grape,

Nor douse to carouse

With the shape of the ape

In the house of the mouse.

On amaranth mountains their pleasure is taken,

By rainbow fountains, by ghost winds shaken,

On the frosty cold nectar of stars their thirst is enraptured and slaken.

Leave life for men and follow with me

To the winds of the fen and the song of the sea.