The dark still sea of night breaks into motion and its foam
Submerges the islands of stars. We are far from home.

The plain is treeless and the river bed is bone dry.
Nothing moves in sight and overhead no vultures fly.

We stumbled here in the night as dead men who walk,
Following what seemed the tracks of that one we stalk.

Have we been following our own fancy shadowed on the ground
To this place where nothing moves, where there is no living sound?

Our Beloved is so delicate that silk bruises his white hands.
Would he live here? We have been led on by our own outrageous demands.

The islands of stars have been washed away by the dawn’s white foam.
The footprints we followed have been swept up by the winds that ceaselessly roam.

The day marches up out of the east like thousands of hostile glances.
Where, O Beloved, is there a shield against these terrible lances?


A real contrast to the previous poem. Here we have a great treatment of the time of the obliteration of all landmarks, of all paths, of all guidance; a time when all belief seems the mere creation of our fancy. His honesty leads him to share with us such moments, when he can no longer take on the role of the voyage’s navigator. The abandonment of false hopes is an integral part of the quest. The sufferings of unworthiness and of utter vulnerability are inescapable. No promised lollypop at the end here.

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