She looked up at him suddenly, her face like a lifted light, wistful, tender, her eyes like many wet flowers. And he drew her to his breast with a passion of tenderness and consuming desire, and the last thought: ‘My hour is upon me, I am taken unawares–‘
So he knew her, and was one with her.
Afterwards, with a dim wonder, she touched the great scars in his sides with her finger-tips, and said:
“But they no longer hurt?”
“They are suns!” he said. “They shine from your torch. They are my atonement with you.”
And when they left the temple, it was the coldness before dawn. As he closed the door, he looked again at the goddess, and he said: “Lo, Isis is a kindly goddess; and full of tenderness. Great gods are warm-hearted, and have tender goddesses.”
The woman wrapped herself in her mantle and went home in silence, sightless, brooding like the lotus softly shutting again, with its gold core full of fresh life. She saw nothing, for her own petals were a sheath to her. Only she thought: ‘I am full of Osiris. I am full of the risen Osiris!
But the man looked at the vivid stars before dawn, as they rained down to the sea, and the dog-star green towards the sea’s rim. And he thought: ‘How plastic it is, how full of curves and folds like an invisible rose of dark-petalled openness that shows where the dew touches its darkness! How full it is, and great beyond all gods. How it leans around me, and I am part of it, the great rose of Space. I am like a grain of its perfume, and the woman is a grain of its beauty. Now the world is one flower of many petalled darknesses, and I am in its perfume as in a touch.’
So, in the absolute stillness and fullness of touch, he slept in his cave while the dawn came. And after the dawn, the wind rose and brought a storm, with cold rain. So he stayed in his cave in the peace and the delight of being in touch, delighting to hear the sea, and the rain on the earth, and to see one white-and-gold narcissus bowing wet, and still wet. And he said: “This is the great atonement, the being in touch. The grey sea and the rain, the wet narcissus and the woman I wait for, the invisible Isis and the unseen sun are all in touch, and at one.”