Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE OUTCAST, by MARY LOUISE RITTER

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THE OUTCAST, by            
First Line: Bleak winds of the winter, sobbing and moaning
Last Line: I will knock at the gate of his home in the sky!
Subject(s): Grief; Sorrow; Sadness

BLEAK winds of the winter, sobbing and moaning,
Pluck not my rags with your pitiless hand;
Here in the darkness, cold and despairing,
Homeless, and friendless, and starving I stand.
Scourged by the white, icy whips of the tempest,
I wander forlorn on my desolate way,
Forgotten of earth and forsaken of Heaven,
Too frozen to kneel and too hungry to pray.

I look at the stately and palace-like dwellings
That line with their grandeur the pathway I tread;
I fancy the brightness and warmth of the hearthstone,
The plenteous board with the wine and the bread;
I see the heads bowed with a reverent meaning,
A blessing is breathed o'er the sumptuous fare;
Will it rise to the ear of the pitiful Father,
Or die of the cold, like the vagabond's prayer?

Hark! Midnight. The chime from the church-tower above me
Drops solemnly down through the whirl of the storm;
If one could pass through the gate to the portal,
Could sleep there, and dream it was lighted and warm!
Give away, cruel bars! let me through to a refuge!
Give away! But I rave, and the fierce winds reply:
"No room in his house for his vagabond children,
No room in his porch for an outcast to die."

No room in his dwelling -- no room in the churches,
No room in the prison -- for hunger's no crime;
Is there room in the bed of the river, I wonder,
Deep down by the pier in the ooze and the slime?
Mock on, taunting wind! I can laugh back an answer,
An hour, and your bitterest breath I defy;
Since bars shut me out of God's house among mortals,
I will knock at the gate of his home in the sky!

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