Blasted rocks and an old warped tree
Lift above a still spot of the sea
As though some vague hand had painted them;
A little back from the verge,
A step or two back from the verge,
And compelled by a strong salt wind,
A clanging ear and troubled eye
A battered head without a tooth,
Rags and crutch and old broken bones---
All that wreck which I call myself,
Having climbed an unaccustomed stair
In a changing state of mind
Or with a bewildered mind,
And revealed to the weather
On the promontory,
Stood shaken by a vision.
A burning woman and a man
In Quattrocento gesture struck
Above the bed where all began;
Half-risen above the multitudinous sea
Above the tangled branches of the yew,
Their abstract bodies are not mixed
With commoner dirt, nor sullied by a cut
Thought of sin or guilt begot.
Is that sweetest skin, ghostly there,
Half human still or all celestial?
Stalked Heaven and never took a bride.
---O all that golden multitude
Had clarity to unpuzzle it. I,
A skittish old man upon a rock,
With a mouthful of rue
With a slippery crutch on a rock
And reeling backwards in a fright
Am blinded by the unbearable light.