Reach over, my Undine, and clutch me a reed—
Nymph of mine idleness, notch me a pipe—
For I am fulfilled of the silence, and long
For to utter the sense of the silence in song.
Down-stream all the rapids are troubled with pebbles
That fetter and fret what the water would utter,
And it rushes and splashes in tremulous trebles;
It makes haste through the shallows, its soul is
But here all the sound is serene and outspread
In the murmurous moods of a slow-swirling pool;
Here all the sounds are unhurried and cool;
Every silence is kith to a sound; they are wed,
They are mated, are mingled, are tangled, are
Every hush is in love with a sound, every sound
By the law of its life to some silence is bound.
Then here will we hide; idle here and abide,
In the covert here, close by the waterside—
Here, where the slim flattered reeds are aquiver
With the exquisite hints of the reticent river,
Here, where the lips of this pool are the lips
Of all pools, let us listen and question and wait;
Let us hark to the whispers of love and of death,
Let us hark to the lispings of life and of fate—
In this place where pale silences flower into sound
Let us strive for some secret of all the profound
Deep and calm Silence that meshes men ’round!
There’s as much of God hinted in one ripple’s
There’s as much of Truth glints in yon dragon-
There’s as much Purpose gleams where yonder
As in—any book else!—could we read things
Then nymph of mine indolence, here let us hide,
Learn, listen, and question; idle here and abide
Where the rushes and lilies lean low to the tide.