Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
The Most-Sacred Mountain
Eunice Tietjens
SPACE, and the twelve clean winds of heaven,
And this sharp exultation, like a cry, after the slow six thousand steps of climbing!
This is Tai Shan, the beautiful, the most holy.
Below my feet the foot-hills nestle, brown with flecks of green; and lower down the flat brown plain, the floor of earth, stretches away to blue infinity.
Beside me in this airy space the temple roofs cut their slow curves against the sky,        5
And one black bird circles above the void.
Space, and the twelve clean winds are here;
And with them broods eternity—a swift, white peace, a presence manifest.
The rhythm ceases here. Time has no place. This is the end that has no end.
Here, when Confucius came, a half a thousand years before the Nazarene, he stepped, with me, thus into timelessness.        10
The stone beside us waxes old, the carven stone that says: “On this spot once Confucius stood and felt the smallness of the world below.”
The stone grows old:
Eternity is not for stones.
But I shall go down from this airy place, this swift white peace, this stinging exultation.
And time will close about me, and my soul stir to the rhythm of the daily round.        15
Yet, having known, life will not press so close, and always I shall feel time ravel thin about me;
For once I stood
In the white windy presence of eternity.


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