A Locked Way

(AFTER LONG YEARS)





'Open the Gate!
The dawn is very near at hand.
My eyes are heavy, I have wandered late,
And trod the white road from a distant land
That stretches 'neath the stars. Open the Gate!'

'What good is it?
I set the heavy bars up long ago.
The lock is rusted; I have lost the key.
How should I open to my overthrow?
0 Youth's love, what have I to do with thee?'

'Open the Gate!
The night is passing-thou mayest see it pass.
Behold, the upland hills are tipped with fire!
The dawn-winds blow across the upland grass.
The cocks crow. Open thou, my heart's desire!'

'That will not I.
This is no true daybreak my sad eyes see.
How shall I open? Broadens not one whit
The white light that so often mockèd me.
How shall I open to a lying cry?
What good is it?'

'Open the Gate!
The night is truly ended, 0 my dear!
My feet are bleeding! I am sick to death!
Open the Gate! God's own red sun is here!
The shadows flee, and the land quickeneth.
0 Love, for Pity, open thou the Gate!'

Nay then - for ruth
I open. I have little love for thee,
And I am sorely changèd since our youth,
And there is little beauty left in me . . .
For Pity have I opened . . . but, in truth,
I. . . had . . . not . . . thought . . . with Pity . . . Love might be!'