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The Simple Line

Written by: Laura Riding Jackson | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 The secrets of the mind convene splendidly,
Though the mind is meek.
To be aware inwardly of brain and beauty Is dark too recognizable.
Thought looking out on thought Makes one an eye: Which it shall be, both decide.
One is with the mind alone, The other is with other thoughts gone To be seen from afar and not known.
When openly these inmost sights Flash and speak fully, Each head at home shakes hopelessly Of being never ready to see self And sees a universe too soon.
The immense surmise swims round and round And heads grow wise With their own bigness beatified In cosmos, and the idiot size Of skulls spells Nature on the ground, While ears listening the wrong way report Echoes first and hear words before sounds Because the mind, being quiet, seems late.
By ears words are copied into books, By letters minds are taught self-ignorance.
From mouths spring forth vocabularies To the assemblage of strange objects Grown foreign to the faithful countryside Of one king, poverty, Of one line, humbleness.
Unavowed and false horizons claim pride For spaces in the head The native head sees outside.
The flood of wonder rushing from the eyes Returns lesson by lesson.
The mind, shrunken of time, Overflows too soon.
The complete vision is the same As when the world-wideness began Worlds to describe The excessiveness of man.
But man's right portion rejects The surplus in the whole.
This much, made secret first, Now makes The knowable, which was Thought's previous flesh, And gives instruction of substance to its intelligence As far as flesh itself, As bodies upon themselves to where Understanding is the head And the identity of breath and breathing are established And the voice opening to cry: I know, Closes around the entire declaration With this evidence of immortality— The total silence to say: I am dead.
For death is all ugly, all lovely, Forbids mysteries to make Science of splendor, or any separate disclosing Of beauty to the mind out of body's book That page by page flutters a world in fragments, Permits no scribbling in of more Where spaces are, Only to look.
Body as Body lies more than still.
The rest seems nothing and nothing is If nothing need be.
But if need be, Thought not divided anyway Answers itself, thinking All open and everything.
Dead is the mind that parted each head.
But now the secrets of the mind convene Without pride, without pain To any onlookers.
What they ordain alone Cannot be known The ordinary way of eyes and ears But only prophesied If an unnatural mind, refusing to divide, Dies immediately Of too plain beauty Foreseen within too suddenly, And lips break open of astonishment Upon the living mouth and rehearse Death, that seems a simple verse And, of all ways to know, Dead or alive, easiest.



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