Natural Magic

by AE
From whence has flown this argosy of air
That o'er the forest dropped its merchandise,
Spilling a fire so rich, a wine so rare?
Through the long glade from russet floor to skies
Darkness and fire are revellers everywhere.
The leaves like gold and emerald butterflies
With myriad quiverings roof the forest glade.
Around me where I lie
The orange flames race through the tattered shade
Dazzling the downcast eye.

Downcast the eye; but not the heart within;
The aerial wine delights: the unblinding fire
Opens the ways, far past the leafy din
And revelry of light; by what desire
Borne onward through invisible gates to win
To that high region where unto one lyre,
Played by the Magian of the Beautiful,
The starry feet keep time,
And these last hyacinths in shadows cool
Echo with distant rhyme.

Distant! The wizard air has breathed away
The heaviness from earth. The sombre trees
To cloud change unimaginably; nay;
To fire, to mind. Ancestral images,
Ere that unfallen Eden had its day
Of yet undimmed forest and flower, these
Living and lustrous and ethereal shapes
I see with sight unblind,
In heavenly valleys or on glittering capes
Glowed in the Magian's mind.

They fade: the forest flickers round me now:
Once more the incessant birth and death of light
On russet floor, green leaf and burnished bough
Dazzle. Yet still the visionary sight
Holds faintly, as these thicker airs allow,
A magic mist of dancers pale and bright,
A foam of golden faces from the spheres
Beyond sun rise or set,
With eyes that had for long forgotten tears
Or never had been wet.

Vanished the angelic trees and beings all!
The wood darkens: the wind has ceased to fan
The glade to flame. Oh, it was magical!
Can I recall? The blinding sunlight ran
Over the burning hyacinth to fall
Starry upon yon water. So began
The incantation of the light which brought
Rapt face and fiery wing,
The Heaven of Heavens: a myriad marvel wrought
And from so slight a thing!
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