Ballad of the Self

Mine eyes still sleeping, open ye gates,
Streaming sunlight which illuminates,
Pour down in honey-laden waves
'Till winter's hoary chill abates.

Eyes, do open, and sharpen thy sight;
Spirit, awaken to lofty height.
Leave thy leprous woes below
And lift thy wings to yearning flight.

The fetters of man shall never hold,
The breath of dreams and passions bold,
So soar ye skyward, dreaming soul,
To pleasures divine and wealth unsold.

Mark thou, mortal husk of mine:
'Tis thought that makes thy flesh divine.
For even as thou grey with time,
Thy spirit, thee shall ever shine,

Garnering life's precious stones,
Of wisdom and of love enthroned
Even as the drought of age
Gnaws thy grey and brittling bones.

'Tis not thy shape that makes thy glory,
Sullen with flesh's want and worry.
Instead the crown that makes thee shine's,
The supple Self, the grace of mind

Which lives to dance and lives to sing,
And so to crown itself a king,
It yearns and feeds; it wants and needs
To rise above what is here.

George Chadderdon © 1993