‘Before we reach our goal,’ the hoopoe said,
The journey’s seven valleys lie ahead;
How far this is the world has never learned,
For no one has gone there has returned –
Impatient bird, who would retrace this trail?
There is no messenger to tell the tale,
And they are lost to our concerns below –
How can men tell you what they do not know?
The first stage is the Valley of the Quest;
Then Love’s wide valley is our second test;
The third is Insight into Mystery,
The fourth Detachment and Serenity –
The fifth is Unity; the sixth is Awe,
A deep bewilderment unknown before,
The seventh Poverty and Nothingness –
And there you are suspended, motionless,
Till you are drawn – the impulse is not yours –
A drop absorbed in seas that have no shores.

lines 3216 – 33

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