The Visionary

I It must be true, I’ve somtimes thought, That beings from some realm afar Oft wander in the void immense, Flying from star to star. In silence through this various world, They pass, to mortal eyes unseen, And toiling men in towns know not That one with them has been. But oft, when on the woodland falls A sudden hush, and no bird sings; When leaves, scarce fluttered by the wind, Speak low of sacred things, My heart has told me I should know, In such a lonely place, if one From other worlds came there and stood Between me and the sun. II At noon, within the woodland shade I walked and listened to the birds; And feeling glad like them I sang A low song without words. When all at once a radiance white, Not from the sun, all round me came; The dead leaves burned like gold, the grass Like tongues of emerald flame. The murmured song died on my lips; Scarce breathing, motionless I stood; So strange that splendour was! so deep A silence held the wood! The blood rushed to and from my heart, Now felt like ice, now fire in me, Till putting forth my hands, I cried, “O let me hear and see!” But even as I spake, and gazed Wide-eyed, and bowed my trembling knees, The glory and the silence passed Like lightning from the trees. And pale at first the sunlight seemed When it was gone; the leaves were stirred To whispered sound, and loud rang out The carol of a bird. W. H. HUDSON (4 August 1841 – 18 August 1922) You can find more about W. H. Hudson here: Taken from ‘A Traveller in Little Things’ (1921) with the following notes: ‘When my turn came, the poem I wrote, which duly appeared, was, like my friend’s Moor, a recollected emotion, a mental experience relived. Mine was in the New Forest; when walking there on day, the loveliness of that green leafy world, its silence and its melody and the divine sunlight, so wrought on me that for a few precious moments it produced a mystical state, that rare condition of beautiful illusions when the feet are off the ground, when, on some occasions, we appear to be one with nature, unbodied like the poet’s bird, floating, diffused in it. There are also other occasions when this transfigured aspect of nature produces the idea that we are in communion with or in the presence of unearthly entities.’

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