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Morning Song Of Senlin

Conrad Aiken

from Senlin: A Biography 


It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning 
When the light drips through the shutters like the dew, 
I arise, I face the sunrise, 
And do the things my fathers learned to do. 
Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops 
Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die, 
And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet 
Stand before a glass and tie my tie. 
Vine leaves tap my window, 
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones, 
The robin chips in the chinaberry tree 
Repeating three clear tones. 
It is morning. I stand by the mirror 
And tie my tie once more. 
While waves far off in a pale rose twilight 
Crash on a white sand shore. 
I stand by a mirror and comb my hair: 
How small and white my face!—
The green earth tilts through a sphere of air 
And bathes in a flame of space. 
There are houses hanging above the stars 
And stars hung under a sea. . . 
And a sun far off in a shell of silence 
Dapples my walls for me. . . 
It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning 
Should I not pause in the light to remember God? 
Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable, 
He is immense and lonely as a cloud. 
I will dedicate this moment before my mirror 
To him alone, and for him I will comb my hair. 
Accept these humble offerings, cloud of silence! 
I will think of you as I descend the stair. 
Vine leaves tap my window, 
The snail-track shines on the stones, 
Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree 
Repeating two clear tones. 
It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence, 
Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep. 
The walls are about me still as in the evening, 
I am the same, and the same name still I keep. 
The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion, 
The stars pale silently in a coral sky. 
In a whistling void I stand before my mirror, 
Unconcerned, I tie my tie. 
There are horses neighing on far-off hills 
Tossing their long white manes, 
And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk, 
Their shoulders black with rains. . . 
It is morning. I stand by the mirror 
And suprise my soul once more; 
The blue air rushes above my ceiling, 
There are suns beneath my floor. . . 
. . . It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness 
And depart on the winds of space for I know not where, 
My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket, 
And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair. 
There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven, 
And a god among the stars; and I will go 
Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak 
And humming a tune I know. . . 
Vine-leaves tap at the window, 
Dew-drops sing to the garden stones, 
The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree 
Repeating three clear tones. 

Added: 12 Aug 2002 | Last Read: 16 Jan 2018 4:46 AM | Viewed: 5234 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/5728/ | Viewed on 16 January 2018.
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