The instant splendour, the swung bells that speak
once to the unprepared glory of youth;
    then the bewildering care:
and nothing more but the stag's backward look,
and the approach of all we were.

And this is the key of the kingdom.  Oh my love,
there was a time when the blue-feathered sky,
   the gilded haughty trees,
clad the sardonic rook in the voice of the dove;
when homeward streets are palaces,

and earth was the delight held in a child's hand.
We shook the door, stretched our hands out to the key;
   years closed behind.  And yet
we shall not lose that age; it is the hound;
we turn and hear his steady feet.

Over our human purpose winds go
round the unpeopled spaces of the night;
   this night, when we shall join
under their swaying canopy, we know
our heart shall be a child's again.

For they have blown, and the blind stag has fled,
through our perfecting years.  The kingdom comes
   though by a narrow gate.
To snare his antlers in his native wood,
the stag runs gladly, soon or late.

This love shall fill the sky again with wings,
and the trees' proud enamel of sunlight be
   as when our eyes were gods'.
Here is the ghostly glory, and the bell swings
here, in the mingling of our bloods.