O blessed meeting place of land and sea,
Of earth and water, rock and ocean wave,
What is thy secret, that we find in thee,
From the first hour, the home that exiles crave?
Intimate art thou, yet mysterious,
And though thy welcome unreserved we have,
We must to thee conform, not thou to us.
For thou art aged with surpassing eld,
Wherefrom to us a majesty lent;
And thou art ever young: who hath beheld
Thy beauty without joy of wonderment?
Our souls beneath its spell are purified,
Content with little, childlike, innocent,
O world new-born at every ebb of tide.
It is enough to cast off clothes and wear
The sunlight as we walk upon the strand,
Enough to hear the surge, to breathe the air,
To feel beneath our naked feet the sand,
To give thanks for the great and for the small,
For the vast ocean, towering heads of land,
And gathered shells and pebbles, rich in all.
A cloud hath thrown its shadow to our side
Of this calm haven; all beyond is bright:
See through the cleft, where the dark rocks divide,
The splendour of that cliff face in full light
Of dazzling sun. It beckons; we draw near,
And gulls upon its ledges, grey and white,
Open their wings and voice our presence here.
Many fly out, each in its orbit wheeling.
Their cries that on the rocks reverberate,
Unearthly strange, thy secret half revealing,
Proclaim to us that shores are ultimate,
That sea cliffs are the edge of the unknown.
But we, not they, thy secret bear innate
Within our hearts in fullness, we alone.
For man's first nature is a meeting place
Where two worlds intermingle, yet are not joined:
Towards the Infinte is turned his face,
And winged ones from the soul fly out beyond,
Nor come they back save yet again to go,
Drawn by the inward Deep. The Heaven respond:
Tides of the Spirit flow and ebb and flow.
(Martin Lings; The Meeting Place)
'Enduring Utterance: Collected Lectures (1993-2001)'
By Martin Lings (Author), Trevor Banyard (Editor)
A collection of lectures by renowned Sufi scholar Martin Lings. Delivered in London in the late nineties, they cover topics relating to metaphysics, comparative religion, Islamic doctrines, Sufism, mysticism and literature, affording rare glimpses into the traditionalist school of thought and the perennial philosophy.