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Kathleen Raine: Introspection

Kathleen Raine: Introspection
 
Photo: Orthodox Priest, Lalibela rock church by Rod Waddington.
 

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If you go deep
Into the heart
What do you find there?
Fear, fear,
Fear of the jaws of the rock,
Fear of the teeth and splinters of iron that tear
Flesh from the bone, and the moist
Blood, running unfelt
From the wound, and the hand
Suddenly moist and red.

If you go deep
Into the heart
What do you find?
Grief, grief,
Grief for the life unlived,
For the loves unloved,
For the child never to be born,
Th'unbidden anguish, when the fair moon
Rises over still summer seas, and the pain
Of sunlight scattered in vain on spring grass.

If you go deeper
Into the heart
What do you find there?
Death, death,
Death that lets all go by,
Lets the blood flow from the wound,
Lets the night pass,
Endures the day with indifference, knowing that all must end.
Sorrow is not forever, and sense
Endures no extremities,
Death is the last Secret implicit within you, the hidden, the deepest
Knowledge of all you will ever unfold
In this body of earth.

(Kathleen Raine, Introspection)

 

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Recommended Reading:

'The Collected Poems of Kathleen Raine'
By Kathleen Raine

Purchase Book:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Description:


The lifework of one of the 20th century's greatest poets. Since her first collection of poems published in 1943, Kathleen Raine has been writing a kind of mystical nature poetry all her own, a poetry immersed in the quiet air of solitude and imagination. Vita Sackville-West, writing in the Observer, spoke of her "curious purity": "Her poems are like drops of water, clear, self-contained, and sometimes iridescent with the elusive colors of mysticism." Collected Poems is the lifework of a visionary, a celebration of the miracles of nature and man's place among them. Now in her ninety-second year she has chosen this work from eleven published collections and from other uncollected and unpublished sources. The earliest poems were written in the mid-thirties, the latest in the late nineties.

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