This is the vortex and whirlpool
the center of human life today on the earth
now the tide rises and now it sinks
but the flow of these rivers always continues
There it seethes and whirls
not for an hour only, but for all present time
hour by hour, day by day, and year by year.

it rushes and pushes
the atoms triturate and grind
and eagerly thrusting by
pursue their separate ends.
Here it appears indifferent to all else
but itself
absorbed and rapt in eager self
yielding only to get its own way;
driving, pushing, carried on in a stress of feverish force
like a bullet.

Dynamic force apart from reason or will
like the force that lifts the tides and sends the clouds onwards.

The friction of a thousand interests evolves a condition of electricity
in which men are moved to and fro without considering their steps
yet the agitated pool of life is stonily indifferent
the thought is absent or preoccupied
for it is evident that the mass are unconscious of the scene
in which they act
but it is more sternly real than the very stones
for all these men and women that pass through are driven on by the push
of accumulated circumstances;
they cannot stay, they must go, their necks are in the slave’s ring
they are beaten like seaweed against the solid walls
of fact.

In ancient times, Xerxes, the king of kings
looking down upon his myriads
to think that in a hundred years not one of them would be left
where will these millions of today be in a hundred years?
but further than that, let us ask,
where then will be the sum and outcome of their labor?
if they wither away like summer grass,
will not at least a result be left which those of a hundred years hence might be the better for?
Not one jot.

There will be no sum or outcome or result of this ceaseless labor and movement
it vanishes in the moment that it is done,
and in a hundred years nothing will be there
for nothing is there now
there will be no more sum
or result than accumulates from the motion of a revolving cowl
on a housetop
nor do they receive any more sunshine during their lives,
for they are unconscious
of the sun.

I used to come and stand near the apex of the promontory of pavement
which juts out towards the pool of life;
I still go there to ponder
burning in the sky, the sun shone on me as when I rested in the narrow valley
carved in prehistoric time
burning in the sky, I can never forget the sun
the heat of summer is dry there as if the light carried an impalpable dust;
dry, breathless heat that will not let the skin respire,
but swathes up the dry fire in the blood.

But beyond the heat and light, I felt the presence of the sun as I felt it in the solitary valley
the presence of the resistless forces of the universe.

The sun burned in the sky as I stood and pondered
is there any theory, philosophy, or creed,
is there any system or culture,
any formulated method
able to meet and satisfy each separate item of this agitated pool of human life?
by which they may be guided,
by which hope, by which look forward?
not a mere illusion of the craving heart
something real,
as real as the solid walls of fact against which, like drifted seaweed, they are dashed;
something to give each separate personality sunshine
and a flower in its own existence now;
something to shape this million-handed labor to an end and outcome
that will leave more sunshine and more flowers to those who must succeed?
something real now, and not in the spirit-land;
in this hour now, as I stand and the sun burns.

Can any creed, philosophy, system, or culture endure the test
and remain unmolten in this fierce focus of human life?

Lyrics submitted by elettrico1

The Vortex song meanings
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