Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ORGANIST, by KATHARINE LEE BATES



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THE ORGANIST, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Slowly I circle the dim, dizzy stair
Last Line: Bidding it rise.
Subject(s): Organs (Musical Instruments)


Slowly I circle the dim, dizzy stair,
Wrapt in my cloak's gray fold,
Holding my heart lest it throb to the air
Its radiant secret, for though I be old,
Though I totter and rock like a ship in the wind,
And the sunbeams come unto me broken and blind,
Yet my spirit drinks youth from the treasure we hold,
Richer than gold.

Princes below me, lips wet from the wine,
Hush at my organ's swell;
Ladies applaud me with clappings as fine
As showers that splash in a musical well.
But their ears only hear mighty melodies ringing,
And their souls never know 'tis my angel there singing,
That the grand organ-angel awakes in his cell
Under my spell.

There in the midst of the wandering pipes,
Far from the gleaming keys,
And the organ front with its gilded stripes,
My glorious angel lies sleeping at ease.
And the hand of a stranger may beat at his gate,
And the ear of a stranger may listen and wait,
But he only cries in his pain for these,
Witless to please.

Angel, my angel, the old man's hand
Knoweth thy silver way.
I loose thy lips from their silence band
And over thy heart-strings my fingers play,
While the song peals forth from thy mellow throat,
And my spirit climbs on the climbing note,
Till I mingle thy tone with the tones away
Over the day.

So I look up as I follow the tone,
Up with my dim old eyes,
And I wonder if organs have angels alone,
Or if, as my fancy might almost surmise,
Each man in his heart folds an angel with wings,
An angel that slumbers, but wakens and sings
When thrilled by the touch that is sympathy-wise,
Bidding it rise.





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