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The profound rose
In the five-hundredth year
of the Hegira
Persia looked on from its minarets
the invasion of lances from the desert
and Attar of Nishapur looked on a rose
and spoke to it with tacit word
like him who thinks, not him who prays:
Your vague sphere is in my hand. Time
bends us both and ignores us
in this afternoon of a lost garden.
Your little weight is humid in the air.
The ceaseless high tide of your fragrance
rises to my old declining face
but I know you farther off than that boy
who glimpsed you in the laminŠ of a dream
or here in this garden, one morning.
The sun's whiteness might be yours
or the moon's gold or the vermilion
firmness of a sword in victory.
I am blind and know nothing, but foresee
that more are the ways. Each thing
is infinite things. You are music,
firmaments, palaces, rivers, angels,
profound rose, limitless, intimate,
which the Lord will show to my dead eyes.