Take me by the hand, you storm winds, take me madly by the hand;
Lead me out beyond the regions where the little rules command.
Lead me far beyond the city
With its hundred aisles of pity;
Take me as you take the legions of the dead leaves from the land.
I am sick of sniff and snivel; I am tired of withered prayers;
I would go where not a coward or a weakling ever dares.
Hurl me then beyond that station
At the rag-end of creation
Where the huts are snow-embowered and the arctic heaven flares…
I am weary of these females with the chatter of the ape,
With the wisdom of the gander in their gossip and their gape,
Turning virgins into harlots
Youths of beauty into varlets
With the brimstone of their slander and their tongue’s unpunished rape.
Better far a dusky savage, with clean hunger in his heart,
Than the inner shrine of Learning with the mildew on its art.
Better far the tom-tom’s beating
Than this academic bleating
That retards the spirit’s yearning with a soul-destroying chart.
Take me by the hand, you storm winds, take me fiercely by the hand:
Lead me far beyond this prating where my spirit may expand.
In the truthful, silent places
I will waken phantom faces
And forget the world of hating and the gossip-ridden land.
I am choking, O my lover, O you wind against my doors!
Lead me to the freer breathing of the little-peopled shores,
Far from these unlovely alleys
To the cedar-scented valleys
Where the mighty streams are seething and the tameless rapid roars.
Lead me far beyond these kingdoms that are lousy with their lords,
Out amid the kingly silence and the world’s untitled hordes,
Far away from Piccadilly
And the Duke of Willy-Nilly
And his children weak and silly–far from creeds and bloody swords.
Half the bodies draped in satin have the inner breed of sluts;
Half our rulers need the sunshine for the poison in their guts.
There is something in the birches
For the hungry soul that searches
That should empty all your churches lying idly in their ruts.
Better far godless bastard, with his freedom in his hands,
Than the scion of the ages, bound and gagged with iron bands;
Better far the fool’s digression
Than the rigid Scotch confession,
Smeared with crimson of the sages who obeyed not its commands.
Silence, how I cry for silence! But the gods have hemmed me ’round
With the clamor of the builders and the street’s unceasing sound.
All I hate to me is given
And my soul is driven, driven
In a battle that bewilders and where evil deeds are crowned.
Here the dullards wrap in satins; here the fools are draped in lace;
Here the sages, weak with hunger, walk the valleys of disgrace.
Here the soul of mammon bosses,
Nailing gods and seers to crosses;
Here the hand of commerce tosses vitriol in the prophet’s face.
Better far the cosmic silence than our folly’s cultured note;
Better ages back of Lilith than the lie within the throat.
While the Pharisees are praying
Truth and Honor have gone straying,
And each jackass does his braying in a cleric tie and coat.
Lead me by the hand, you north winds, as you lead the flakes of show;
Carve me with your touch of wonder as we wander to and fro;
Leave me far beyond the border
Of this civilized disorder
Where the soul is rent asunder by the thrust of friend and foe.
I am coming, O my lover–but I know my words are wild,
For I cannot find the gateway to the regions undefiled.
So I turn me back with sorrow,
But I’ll go with you to-morrow
To the wilderness, and borrow back the freedom of a child.