By Oswald Sickert
CUMHAL the king, being angry and sad,
Came by the woody way
To the cave, where Dathi the Blessed had gone,
To hide from the troubled day.
Cumhal called out, bowing his head,
Till Dathi came and stood,
With blinking eyes, at the cave s edge,
Between the wind and the wood.
And Cumhal said, bending his knees,
” I come by the windy way
To gather the half of your blessedness
And learn the prayers that you say.
” I can bring you salmon out of the streams
And heron out of the skies.”
But Dathi folded his hands and smiled
With the secrets of God in his eyes.
And Cumhal saw like a drifting smoke
All manner of blessedest souls,
Children and women and tonsured young men,
And old men with croziers and stoles.
” Praise God and God s Mother,” Dathi said,
” For God and God s Mother have sent
The blessedest souls that walk in the world
To fill your heart with content.”
” And who is the blessedest,” Cumhal said,
” Where all are comely and good ?
Is it those that with golden thuribles
Are singing about the wood ? “
” My eyes are blinking,” Dathi said,
“With the secrets of God half blind.
But I have found where the wind goes
And follow the way of the wind ;
” And blessedness goes where the wind goes
And when it is gone we die ;
And have seen the blessedest soul in the world,
By a spilled wine-cup lie.
” O blessedness comes in the night and the day,
And whither the wise heart knows ;
And one has seen, in the redness of wine,
The Incorruptible Rose :
“The Rose that must drop, out of sweet leaves,
The heaviness of desire,
Until Time and the World have ebbed away
In twilights of dew and fire ! ”
Sickert, Oswald. “Kathy.” The Yellow Book, vol. 10, July 1896, pp. 179-198. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020. https://1890s.ca/YBV10_sickert_kathy/