8 (to the pilgrimage)

'TO THE pilgrimage' calls the young,

'to love, to power, to knowledge, to wealth overflowing,'

'We shall conquer the world and the world beyond this,'

they all cry exultant in a thundering cataract of voices,

The meaning is not the same to them all, but only the impulse,

the moving confluence of wills that recks not death and disaster.

No longer they ask for their way,

no more doubts are there to burden their minds or weariness to clog their feet.

The spirit of the Leader is within them and ever beyond them

the Leader who has crossed death and all limits.

They travel over the fields where the seeds are sown,

by the granary where the harvest is gathered,

and across the barren soil where famine dwells

and skeletons cry for the return of their flesh.

They pass through populous cities humming with life,

through dumb desolation bugging its ruined past,

and hovels for the unclad and unclean,

a mockery of home for the homeless.

They travel through long hours of the summer day,

and as the light wanes in the evening they ask the man who reads the sky:

'Brother, is yonder the tower of our final hope and peace?'

The wise man shakes his head and says:

It is the last vanishing cloud of the sunset.'

'Friends,' exhorts the young, 'do not stop.

Through the night's blindness we must struggle into the Kingdom of living light.'

They go on in the dark.

The road seems to know its own meaning

and dust underfoot dumbly speaks of direction.

The starscelestial wayfarerssing in silent chorus:

'Move on, comrades!'

In the air floats the voice of the Leader:

'The goal is nigh.'