Discourse of St. Symeon
Who stands upon the ocean-shore
and looks out to horizon's end
may in its vastness somewhat share
but yet is bound upon the sand;
such see in truth the boundless sea
and yet the sea extends beyond;
unbounded sea they truly saw
and yet their seeing had a bound.
Yet, content not merely to see,
will others into vastness wade,
and what shall we of these folk say
who feel the waves roll strong and wet?
They too the endless ocean share
and yet are conscious and made full,
far more than any on the shore,
of fullness, depth, and overflow.
But will not those who wade out lose
their vision as the water weaves
a wall through which their eyes see less
of anything but wave on wave?
And to the one who simply swims
all but the ocean then will fade;
in such a state the world then seems
to be but currents that enfold.
Even so with glory bright!
Even thus will be the lot
of those who by God's grace are brought
into God's deep and endless light.
The false and faithless gods of yore
are haunting me this sleepless night;
their leering faces, mirror-like,
are mocking me beneath the stars.
Their tongues are long, their teeth are sharp,
their eyes are cold and fatal-fierce;
they know the ways and tricks of fear
and rob me of my chance to sleep.
But sleep remains a greater god;
his ruthless hand will rule the end,
his dark and piercing eye will win:
none escape him but the dead.