The angel of prayer according to the Talmud stands unmoved
among the angels of wind and fire, who die as their one song is
finished, also as he gathers the prayers they turn to flowers in his
And these about me die,
Because the pain of the infinite singing
Ye that have sung of the pain of the earth-horde's
Ye know somewhat the strain,
the sad-sweet wonder-pain of such singing.
And therefore ye know after what fashion
This singing hath power destroying.
Yea, these about me, bearing such song in homage
Unto the Mover of Circles,
Die for the might of their praising,
And the autumn of their marcescent wings
Maketh ever new loam for my forest;
And these grey ash trees hold within them
All the secrets of whatso things
They dreamed before their praises,
And in this grove my flowers,
Fruit of prayerful powers,
Have first their thought of life
And then their being.
Ye marvel that I die not! forsitan!
Thinking me kin with such as may not weep,
Thinking me part of them that die for praising
—yea, tho' it be praising,
past the power of man's mortality to
dream or name its phases,
—yea, tho' it chant and paean
past the might of earth-dwelt
soul to think on,
—yea, tho' it be praising
as these the winged ones die of.
Ye think me one insensate
else die I also
Sith these about me die,
And if I, watching
Ever the multiplex jewel, of beryl and jasper and sapphire
Make of these prayers of earth ever new flowers;
Marvel and wonder!
Marvel and wonder even as I,
Giving to prayer new language
And causing the works to speak
Of the earth-horde's age-lasting longing,
Even as I marvel and wonder, and know not,
Yet keep my watch in the ash wood.
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