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- Embers, Volume 2. - 5/8 -

Weeping or singing-- That the Beginning Of all things is with us, and sees us, and hears?

What is the token? Bruised and broken, Bend I my life to a blossoming rod? Shall then the worst things Come to the first things, Finding the best of all, last of all, God?


Bands broken, cords loosened, and all Set free. Well, I know That I turned my cold face to the wall, Was silent, strove, gasped, then there fell A numbness, a faintness, a spell Of blindness, hung as a pall, On me, falling low, And a far fading sound of a knell.

Then a fierce stretching of hands In gloom; and my feet, Treading tremulous over hard sands; A wind that wailed wearily slow, A plashing of waters below, A twilight on bleak lone lands, Spread out; and a sheet Of the moaning sea shallows aflow.

Then a steep highway that leads Somewhere, cold, austere; And I follow a shadow that heeds My coming, and points, not in wrath, Out over: we tread the sere path Up to the summit; recedes All gloom; and at last The beauty a flower-land hath.


Well it has come and has gone, I have some pride, you the same; You will scarce put willow on, I will have buried a name.

A stone, "Hic Jacet"--no more; Let the world wonder at will; You have the key to the door, I have the cenotaph still.

A tear--one tear, is it much, Dropped on a desert of pain? Had you one passionate touch Of Nature there had been rain.

Purpose, oh no, there was none! You could not know if you would; You were the innocent one. Malice? Nay, you were too good.

Hearts should not be in your way, You must pass on, and you did; Ah, did I hurt you? you say: Hurt me? Why, Heaven forbid!

Inquisitorial ways Might have hurt, truly, but this, Done in these wise latter days, It was too sudden, I wis.

"Painless and pleasing," this is No bad advertisement, true; Painless extinction was his, And it was pleasing-to you.

Still, when the surgery's done (That is the technical term), Which has lost most, which has won? Rise now, and truly affirm.

You carry still what we call (Poets are dreamy we know) A heart, well, 'tis yours after all, And time hath its wonders, I trow.

You may look back with your eyes Turned to the dead of the Past, And find with a sad surprise, That yours is the dead at the last.

Seeing afar in the sands, Gardens grown green, at what cost! You may reach upward your hands, Praying for what you have lost.


Adieu! and the sun goes awearily down, The mist creeps up o'er the sleepy town, The white sails bend to the shuddering mere, And the reapers have reaped, and the night is here.

Adieu! and the years are a broken song, The right grows weak in the strife with wrong, The lilies of love have a crimson stain, And the old days never will come again.

Adieu! where the mountains afar are dim 'Neath the tremulous tread of the seraphim, Shall not our querulous hearts prevail, That have prayed for the peace of the Holy Grail?

Adieu! Some time shall the veil between The things that are, and that might have been Be folded back for our eyes to see, And the meaning of all be clear to me.


What you have done may never be undone By day or night, What I have seen may never be unseen In my sad sight.

The days swing on, the sun glows and is gone, From span to span; The tides sweep scornfully the shore, as when The tides began.

What we have known is but a bitter pledge Of Ignorance, The human tribute to an ageless dream, A timeless trance.

Through what great cycles hath this circumstance Swept on and on, Known not by thee or me, till it should come, A vision wan,

To our two lives, and yours would seem to me The hand that kills, Though you have wept to strike, and but have cried, "The mad Fate wills!"

You could not, if you would, give what had been Peace, not distress; Some warping cords of destiny had held You in duress.

Nay, not the Fates, look higher; is God blind? Doth He not well? Our eyes see but a little space behind, If it befell,

That they saw but a little space before, Shall we then say, Unkind is the Eternal, if He knew This from alway,

And called us into being but to give To mother Earth Two blasted lives, to make the watered land A place of dearth?

The life that feeds upon itself is mad-- Is it not thus? Have I not held but one poor broken reed For both of us?

Keep but your place and simply meet The needs of life; Mine is the sorrow, mine the prayerless pain: The world is rife

With spectres seen and spectres all unseen By human eyes, Who stand upon the threshold, at the gates, Of Paradise.

Embers, Volume 2. - 5/8

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