for Xanthe or Christopher
Here the earth-beats all begin
and the hooves of silent stars
hammer in a soundless din:
and the rain comes dazzling down,
and wild forests haunt the hills.
About the air small birds are blown
and winding waves purvey their fish,
and people with enquiring eyes
make material to their wish:
cloth is cut, slate is slit:
and roove themselves, and veer apart.
And the universe is split
(down a splintered track of stars)
in different forces, factions, feuds
and pledged away in prayers and wars.
Join in man’s monopoly.
Owning one small world, you will
name its colours, trace its sea;
you will try its wealth of trades.
And a spark from off the sun
burns in being . . . transforms . . . and fades.
Now a whole life is let by,
all your time, that mounts a map
right against the roof of sky.
Now in night before your birth
somewhere let a new star shine.
One small world is on the Earth.