Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 216. Nirvana
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
216. Nirvana
By Edmond Gore Alexander Holmes  (1850–1906)
COULD my heart but see Creation as God sees it,—from within;
  See His grace behind its beauty, see His will behind its force;
See the flame of life shoot upward when the April days begin;
  See the wave of life rush outward from its pure eternal source;
Could I see the summer sunrise glow with God’s transcendent hope;        5
  See His peace upon the waters in the moonlit summer night;
See Him nearer still when, blinded, in the depths of gloom I grope,—
  See the darkness flash and quiver with the gladness of His light;
Could I see the red-hot passion of His love resistless burn
  Through the dumb despair of winter, through the frozen lifeless clod;—       10
Could I see what lies around me as God sees it, I should learn
  That its outward life is nothing, that its inward life is God.
Vain the dream! To spirit only is the spirit-life revealed:
  God alone can see God’s glory: God alone can feel God’s love.
By myself the soul of Nature from myself is still concealed;       15
  And the earth is still around me, and the skies are still above.
Vain the dream! I cannot mingle with the all-sustaining soul:
  I am prisoned in my senses; I am pinioned by my pride;
I am severed by my selfhood from the world-life of the Whole;
  And my world is near and narrow, and God’s world is waste and wide.       20
Vain the dream! Yet in the morning, when the eastern skies are red,
  When the dew is on the meadows, when the lark soars up and sings,—
Leaps a sudden flame within me from its ashes pale and dead,
  And I see God’s beauty burning through the veil of outward things.
Brighter grows the veil and clearer, till, beyond all fear and doubt,       25
  I am ravished by God’s splendour into oneness with His rest;
And I draw the world within me, and I send my soul without;
  And God’s pulse is in my bosom, and I lie upon God’s breast.
Dies the beatific vision in the moment of its birth;
  Dies, but in its death transfigures all the sequence of my days;       30
Dies, but dying crowns with triumph all the travail of the earth,
  Till its harsh discordant murmurs swell into a psalm of praise.
Then a yearning comes upon me to be drawn at last by death,
  Drawn into the mystic circle in which all things live and move,
Drawn into the mystic circle of the love which is God’s breath,—       35
  Love creative, love receptive, love of loving, love of love.
God! the One, the All of Being! let me lose my life in Thine;
  Let me be what Thou hast made me, be a quiver of Thy flame.
Purge my self from self’s pollution; burn it into life divine;
  Burn it till it dies triumphant in the firespring whence it came.       40



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