So you have swept me back, I who have walked with the live souls above the earth, I who have slept among the live flowers at last;
so for your arrogance and your ruthlessness I am swept back where dead lichens drip dead cinders upon moss of ash;
so for your arrogance I am broken at last, I who had lived unconscious who was almost forgot;
if you had let me wait I had grown from listlessness into peace if you had let me rest with the dead, I had forgot you and the past.
Here only flame upon flame and black among the red sparks, streaks of black and light grown colorless
why did you turn back, that hell should be reinhabited of myself thus swept into nothingness?
why did you turn back? why did you glance back? why did you hesitate for that moment? why did you bend your face caught with the flame of the upper earth, above my face?
what was it that crossed my face with the light from yours and your glance? what was it you saw in my face? the light of your own face, the fire of your own presence?
what had my face to offer but reflex of the earth, hyacinth colour caught from the raw fissure in the rock where the light struck, and the colour of azure crocuses, and the bright surface of gold crocuses and of the wind-flower swift in its veins as lightning and as white.
Saffron from the fringe of the earth, wild saffron that has bent over the sharp edge of earth, all the flowers that cut through the earth, all, all the flowers are lost;
everything is lost, everything is crossed with black, black upon black and worse than black, this colourless light
Fringe upon fringe of blue crocuses, crocuses, walled against blue of themselves, blue of that upper earth blue of the depth upon depth of flowers, lost; flowers, if I could have taken once my breath of them, enough of them, more than earth, even than of the upper earth, had passed with me beneath the earth;
If I could have caught up from the earth the whole of the flowers of the earth, if once I could have breathed into myself the very golden crocuses and the red and the very golden hearts of the first saffron, the whole of the golden mass, the whole of the great fragrance, I could have dared the loss.
So for your arrogance and your ruthlessness I have lost the earth and the flowers of the earth, and the live souls above the earth, and you who passed across the light and reached ruthless;
you who have your own light, who are yourself a presence, who need no presence;
yet for all your arrogance and your glance, I tell you this:
such loss is no loss, such terror, such coils and strands and pitfalls of blackness such terror is no loss;
hell is no worse than your earth above the earth, hell is no worse, no, nor your flowers nor your veins of light nor your presence, a loss; my hell is no worse than yours though you pass among the flowers and speak with the spirits above the earth.
Against the black I have more fervour than you in all the splendour of that place, against the blackness and the stark grey I have more light;
and the flowers, if I should tell you, you would turn from your own fit paths toward hell, turn again and glance back and I would sink into a place even more terrible than this.
At least I have the flowers of myself, and my thoughts, no god can take that; I have the fervour of myself for a presence and my own spirit for light;
and my spirit with its loss knows this; though small against the black, small against the formless rocks, hell must break before I am lost;
before I am lost, hell must open like a red rose for the dead to pass.