Thursday, June 02, 2011

An Incommunicable Word

There was an Island in the Sea
by Conrad Aiken


There was an island in the sea
That out of immortal chaos reared
Towers of topaz, trees of glass,
For maidens adored and warriors feared.

Long ago was it lost in the sea ;
And now, a thousand fathoms deep.
Sea-worms above it whirl their lamps.
Crabs on the pale mosaics creep.

Voyagers over that haunted sea
Hear from the darkness under the keel
A sound that is not wave or foam,
Nor do they only hear, but feel

The timbers quiver, as eerily comes
Out of the waters an elfin singing
Of voices happy as none can be.
And bells an ethereal anthem ringing.

Thereafter, where they go or come.
They will be silent, they have heard
Out of the infinite of the soul
An incommunicable word.

Thereafter, they are as lovers who
Over an infinite brightness lean :
'It is Atlantis !' all their speech,
'To lost Atlantis have we been.'

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