The Secret Key
There is a magic kingdom of strange powers,
Thought-hidden, lit by other stars than ours;
And, when a wanderer through its mazes brings
Word of things seen, men say: “A poet sings.”
Its gates are guarded in a sterile land—
Mountain and deep morass, and shifting sand;
Storm-barred are they, and may not opened be
Save by the hand that finds the secret key.
That key, some say, lies in the sunset glow,
Or the white arc of dawn, or where the flow
Of some lone river stems the shoreward wave
In shuddering silver on its ocean grave.
Some say that when the wind wars with the sea,
In that stern music, one may find the key;
Or, in green glooms of forests, where the pine
Uplifts her spear amid great wreaths of vine;
Or, where the streaming mist’s white rollers climb
The dark ravine and precipice sublime—
A filmy sea that twines and intertwines
Wreathes the low hills, and veils the mighty lines
Of sovran mountains, crimsoned and aglow
In crystal pomp, crested with jewelled snow;
But still, with souls afire, men seek that land,
And die in deep morass and shifting sand.
To those alone its iron gates are free,
Who find, within their hearts, the secret key;
For Earth, with all the colour of her day,
Is not their country—that lies far away.