Robert Graves




Gold and Malachite

After the hour of illumination, when the tottering mind
Has been by force delivered from its incubus of despair,
When all the painted, papier mâché, Mexican faces
Of demons grinning at you from hell’s vaulted roof
Fade and become angelic monitors of wisdom —
Slowly the brisk intelligence wakes, to mutter questions
Of when, where, how; and which should be
                                                  the first step forward…

Now is the crucial moment you were forewarned against.
Stop your ears with your fingers, guard unequivocal silence
Lest you discuss wisdom in the language of unwisdom;
Roam instead through the heaped treasury of your heart:
You will find her, from whom you have been
      so long estranged,
Chin to knees, brooding apart on gold and malachite.
But beware again: even a shy embrace would be
      too explicit —
Let her learn by your gait alone that you are free at last.