Traubel, Horace – Shall I speak of the door swung wide, of the unbarred gates
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
as recorded in Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke
The following poem was written by Horace Traubel shortly after his illumination:
The nights, the days, hold me in thrall,
Toils of men and women drag my faith to the earth—
Furrowed with pain, the casual cares,
I long—I look—I reach forth to life.
Shall I speak of the door swung wide, of the unbarred gates?
After the vigil I step across the border-line,
I take my place with the pioneers.
Have I met the hour patiently, without fear, at the portal?
Now is my name called, now the lip of my love has spoken:
Do I mistake you, O divine Signaler? is it after all some other soul that is hailed?
My self is my answer:
There's that in my heart responds, meeting the call with equal voice, establishing forever the unspeakable bond!
Bond that does not bind—bond that frees—bond that discovers and bestows.
Look! I am flushed with inexhaustible possessions!
The old measures vanish, I am expanded to infinite sweep.
O world! Not dead to you—only seeing you, knowing you, at last,
Mixed with countless worlds, knowing with you your companions also:
O year! Not dead to you—only seeing you, knowing you, at last,
Mixed with all time, untangling the knotted thread:
O world! O year!—
Before birth seeing birth, after life seeing life!
The infinite blue, heaven's fond eye, opens upon me.
O voice, mastering me, making me too master—
My ear is close, I hear the syllables fall,
Waves on shores of the farther worlds, waves on shores of the day.
The clouds part: O face—O face—O face!—
Face smiling upon me—smiling me wings, buoyant beyond the discarded cheapened present.
(You, too, O present, still remaining,
Duly visiting my heart, not forbidden,
Yet yielding the place supreme).
I am all eye—O God! you are all speech:
Melody celestial—sight and voice, color and tone, warring no more,
In the boundless blue uplifted.
Whose hand touches me?—my brow—my breast—my own unasking hand—
Leading me out of self to self?
Divine form—mother, father—sex only now standing revealed, the union irreversible:
Divine form, I made whole in you,
The elements diverse here blended.
This minute grown infinite, the far worlds spread before me,
The endless drift of soul, the long stretch of faces, all lit by the divine sun—
Or swift or slow or early or late the line not anywhere broken,
All—all—equally sustained, swept in the same destiny, on sea and land of life,
The peak lit for all, the triumph inevitable.
O my soul! look yet again:
There too are you, a figure in the panorama,
On your brow the dawn has set its beauteous beam,
Here with me—there not with me.
Death fills me with its abundance.
What is this flood, overcoming body and sense?
I feel the walls of my skull crack, the barriers part, the sun-flood enter—
Love, lore, not lost, only magnified, floating eternal seas of essence—
Before and behind births and deaths, spiritual gravitation, the emergence ever-more expanding.
O soul, have I lost you or found you?
Found! the faultless circle born at last to you,
After the waiting years.
Far eras behind, far eras ahead, the simple few years I finger,
Shafts from the central sun,
Speeding for fuller fruition the orbs of space.
Back to the first word of speech,
On to the last utterance of seers,
My soul, knowing its own, wrapt in its protean habit, catches the perfect song.
God! I am circled—I am drunk with the influx of life—
Wheeled in your orbit—given the word I would speak yet must withhold—
Leaving you, O my brother, each one, to say it for yourself.
Brothers, worlds, I greet you!
The wheel turns, the boundless prospect opens:
All, all complicate—the light bearing limitlessly the burdens of all.
Do you think that you are missed, that the large heart beats not for you?
That somewhere on the road you must faint and die?
Strength will be given for all your need,
And the weakest, when the night comes which is the day,
Will greet the king, a giant in stature and grace.
Now the immortal years, the ceaseless round realized—
The doubts shorn of wing and foot,
The farthest league nearest, and the multiplied infinities choking here in my breast.
O my questioner! you do not suspect me—you suspect yourself:
To-morrow, seeing yourself, you will see me,
And the illumined spirit, passing the portal,
God-grown, will hail me proudly .