Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CALL OF DEATH, by CHARLES V. H. ROBERTS



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THE CALL OF DEATH, by            
First Line: Last of myself-I thought how hard to die
Last Line: Once and no more—ah! Make no cry!
Subject(s): Death; Graves; Heaven; Soul; Dead, The; Tombs; Tombstones; Paradise


Last of myself—I thought how hard to die;
To pass without a tear into the stars;
To leave this fiery glory-colored world of ours,
And thy dear face; the doubt and dreadful fear
When thrust out thence, to go I know not where.

At times in truth, it seemed to me that I,
Beloved, was wrought before the moon or sun,
Before the fallen angels, darkness, light, creation;
Oh! God, where was my soul, where did this body lie
Before the cycles of eternity were run;
The stars turned in their course without the sight of man?

Beloved, come nearer. I am conscious still—
Cold though I feel—passing, passing on. Each chill
Of life I have, breathes only on the sight
Of thee; for see—our love's fire has lit
The flame of younger immortalities.

Tell me, when first thy soul confessed this love?
No!—not through thy tears—I can feel above
My heart, thy blood run to thy finger ends.
Be not worn with grief or blasted by despair;
If thou wouldst love me longer—wed memory to prayer,
The holy whispers of unsundered souls.

Last of myself, I thought how hard to die,—
Anguish in my anguish, through the gulf of space,
Perhaps the fires of Hell—a kindred serpent face.
Soul naked now, in fears and sorrows all
The actions of my life before me lie.
Each past spoke angry word, a panic call
In black-veiled voices of the great Unknown,
A-flutter o'er my head in horror shown.

How can I leave these painted toys of earth,
The memory of thy tears and sweetest mirth?
Ah, come! Thy lips to kiss—thy heart to love,
Thine eyes to see! So near the mystic glow
Of Death—to feel is better than to know
Sweet touches, interchange, the sound of song,
In swaying languors unrestrained.
Come! e'er I'm robed in my immortal shape.
Away my dreams of mystery in the throng
Of yonder stars! Away these tears that drip and make
My soul coward, afraid to sate thy fount of love,
Fear-dumb by the nearness of oblivion!

Thou couldst reconcile the farthest planets,
Reweave the crumbling halls and fill the gap with stones,
Breathe into the city's dead or broken bones
Splendid newer lives—ne'er wrecked by sea or wind.

Perhaps to-night will come Chaos in heaven,
Which Perpetual Happiness cannot assuage;
As I shall grow and grieve and call the past
Along the way that leadeth back to thee,
Until thy name is gilded on the Page.

I'll fondly seek thee with immortal eyes,
Out o'er the azure distance pure with prayer,
The song of sleep—between thy soul and mine.
Moonbeams will kiss thy garden hedge,—a hue
In silver visions, that the pagans knew;
And clouds made of my tears will rain my sighs
Upon thy cheeks and lips and turn thy breasts
To lilies. At times feel thee my passing breath,
A quivering spirit crossed with bars of gold and crests,—
A joy, a pain, a prayer—united in eternity.

On, Death! Why do I fear thy doom and dazzle,
Thy thunder-scar—thy withered cheek?
Where'er I go, I was ever bound to go,—
My soul, at least, a gem in this decaying heap.
Adieu—my love, my life. Behold! I die!
Once and no more—Ah! make no cry!





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