On Waking – Poem By Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell was an Irish Republican from Belfast. He was a social activist and prolific poet.

On Waking

SLEEP, gray brother of death,
Has touched me,
And passed on.

I arise, facing the east—
Pearl-doored sanctuary
From which the light,
Hand-linked with dew and fire,

Hail, essence, hail!
Fill the windows of my soul
With beauty:
Pierce and renew my bones:
Pour knowledge into my heart
As wine.

Cualann is bright before thee.
Its rocks melt and swim:
The secret they have kept
From the ancient nights of darkness
Flies like a bird.

What mourns?
Cualann’s secret flying.
A lost voice
In endless fields.
What rejoices?
My voice lifted praising thee.

Praise! Praise! Praise!
Praise out of the trumpets, whose brass
Is the unyoked strength of bulls;
Praise upon the harp, whose strings
Are the light movement of birds;
Praise of leaf, praise of blossom,
Praise of the red-fibred clay;
Praise of grass,
Fire-woven veil of the temple;
Praise of the shapes of clouds;
Praise of the shadows of wells;
Praise of worms, of fetal things,
And of things in time’s thought
Not yet begotten.
To thee, queller of sleep,
Looser of the snare of death.

Joseph Campbell

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