84 (do you hear the tumult)

DO YOU HEAR the tumult of death afar,

The call midst the fire-floods and poisonous clouds.

-The Captain's call to the steersman to turn the ship to an unnamed shore,

For that time is over-the stagnant time in the port-

Where the same old merchandise is bought and sold in an endless


Where dead things drift in the exhaustion and emptiness of truth.

They wake up in sudden fear and ask,

'Comrades, what hour has struck?

When shall the dawn begin?'

The clouds have blotted away the stars-

Who is there then can see the beckoning finger of the day?

They run out with oars in hand, the beds are emptied, the mother prays, the wife watches by the door;

There is a wail of parting that rises to the sky,

And there is the Captain's voice in the dark:

'Come, sailors, for the time in the harbour is over!'

All the black evils in the world have overflowed their banks,

Yet, oarsmen, take your places with the blessing of sorrow in your souls!

Whom do you blame, brothers? Bow your heads down!

The sin has been yours and ours.

The heat growing in the heart of God for ages-

The cowardice of the weak, the arrogance of the strong, the greed of fat prosperity, the rancour of the wronged, pride of race, and insult to man-

Has burst God's peace, raging in storm.

Like a ripe pod, let the tempest break its heart into pieces, scattering thunders.

Stop your bluster of dispraise and of self-praise,

And with the calm of silent prayer on your foreheads sail to that unnamed shore.

We have known sins and evils every day and death we have known;

They pass over our world like clouds mocking us with their transient lightning laughter.

Suddenly they have stopped, become a prodigy,

And men must stand before them saying:

'We do not fear you, O Monster! for we have lived every day by conquering you,

'And we die with the faith that Peace is true, and Good is true, and true is the eternal One!'

If the Deathless dwell not in the heart of death,

If glad wisdom bloom not bursting the sheath of sorrow,

If sin do not die of its own revealment,

If pride break not under its load of decorations,

Then whence comes the hope that drives these men from their homes like stars rushing to their death in the morning light?

Shall the value of the martyrs' blood and mothers' tears be utterly lost in the dust of the earth, not buying Heaven with their price?

And when Man bursts his mortal bounds, is not the Boundless revealed that moment?