(The Death of Saint Brendan)

At last out of the deep sea he passed,
and mist rolled on the shore;
under clouded moon the waves were loud,
as the laden ship him bore
to Ireland, back to wood and mire
and the tower tall and grey,
where the knell of Cluain-ferta’s bell
tolled in green Galway.
Where Shannon down to Lough Derg ran
under a rain-clad sky
Saint Brendan came to his journey’s end
to find the grace to die.

‘O tell me, father, for I loved you well,
if still you have words for me,
of things strange in the remembering
in the long and lonely sea,
of islands by deep spells beguiled
where dwell the Elvenkind:
in seven long years the road to Heaven
or the Living Land did you find?’

‘The things I have seen, the many things,
have long now faded far;
only three come clear now back to me:
a Cloud, a Tree, a Star.

We sailed for a year and a day and hailed
no field nor coast of men;
no boat nor bird saw we ever afloat
for forty days and ten.

Then a drumming we heard as of thunder coming,
and a Cloud above us spread;
we saw no sun at set or dawn,
yet ever the west was red.

Upreared from sea to cloud then sheer
a shoreless mountain stood;
its sides were black from the sullen tide
up to its smoking hood,
but its spire was lit with a living fire
that ever rose and fell:
tall as a column in High Heaven’s hall,
its roots were deep as Hell;
grounded in chasms the waters drowned
and swallowed long ago
it stands, I guess, on the foundered land
where the kings of kings lie low.

‘We sailed then on till all winds failed,
and we toiled then with the oar;
we burned with thirst and in hunger yearned,
and we sang our psalms no more.
At last beyond the Cloud we passed
and came to a starlit strand;
the waves were sighing in pillared caves,
grinding gems to sand.
And here they would grind our bones we feared
until the end of time;
for steep those shores went upward leaping
to cliffs no man could climb.
But round by west a firth we found
that clove the mountain-wall;
there lay a water shadow-grey
between the mountains tall.
Through gates of stone we rowed in haste,
and passed, and left the sea;
and silence like dew fell in that isle,
and holy it seemed to be.

To a dale we came like a silver grail
with carven hills for rim.
In that hidden land we saw there stand
under a moonlight dim
a Tree more fair than ever I deemed
in Paradise might grow:
its foot was like a great tower’s root,
its height no man could know;

and white as winter to my sight
the leaves of that Tree were;
they grew more close than swan-wing plumes,
long and soft and fair.

It seemed to us then as in a dream
that time had passed away,
and our journey ended; for no return
we hoped, but there to stay.
In the silence of that hollow isle
half sadly then we sang:
softly we thought, but the sound aloft
like sudden trumpets rang.
The Tree then shook, and flying free
from its limbs the leaves in air
as white birds rose in wheeling flight,
and the lifting boughs were bare.
On high we heard in the starlit sky
a song, but not of bird:
neither noise of man nor angel’s voice,
but maybe there is a third
fair kindred in the world yet lingers
beyond the foundered land.
But steep are the seas and the waters deep
beyond the White-tree Strand!’

‘O stay now, father! There is more to say.
But two things you have told:
the Tree, the Cloud; but you spoke of three.
The Star in mind do you hold?’

‘The Star? Why, I saw it high and far
at the parting of the ways,
a light on the edge of the Outer Night
beyond the Door of Days,
where the round world plunges steeply down,
but on the old road goes,
as an unseen bridge that on arches runs
to coasts that no man knows.’

‘But men say, father, that ere the end
you went where none have been.
I would hear you tell me, father dear,
of the last land you have seen.’

‘In my mind the Star I still can find,
and the parting of the seas,
and the breath as sweet and keen as death
that was borne upon the breeze.
But where they bloom, those flowers fair,
in what air or land they grow,
what words beyond this world I heard,
if you would seek to know,
in a boat then, brother, far afloat
you must labour in the sea,
and find for yourself things out of mind:
you will learn no more of me.’

In Ireland over wood and mire
in the tower tall and grey
the knell of Cluain-ferta’s bell
was tolling in green Galway.
Saint Brendan had come to his life’s end
under a rain-clad sky,
journeying whence no ship returns;
and his bones in Ireland lie.

„Имрам”. Заедно с две илюстрации от Робърт Гибингс. Във „Времена и лета”, Лондон, 3 декември 1955 г., стр. 1561.

Поема, преиздадена в „Сразеният Саурон”, стр. 296–299. По-ранен вариант, който е част от „Документи на клуба с възгледи”, със заглавие „Смъртта на Св. Брендан”, е отпечатан на стр. 295–296.

„Имрам” е ирландска дума, която означава „пътешествие” — келтски разкази за ирландски мореплаватели.