Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, REPLY, by JANET NORRIS BANGS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

REPLY, by            
First Line: Man prayed his way up from the beast
Last Line: Unto the way!
Subject(s): Prayer; Religion; Theology

Man prayed his way up from the beast
And drove his will with love and pain
And each slow failing trial increased
His infinitesimal gain.

We cannot know if dawning came
Upon a snow-wrapped solitude,
Or as a spirit-bearing flame
Through a dark wood.

Perhaps on the appointed day,
When great trees fanned the golden air,
The wild thing slept, from joyous play,
With visions vast and fair.

While with the young at her warm breast,
Their helplessness beneath her eyes,
Some mother-creature sudden guessed
At human love; surmise

Of the long struggle for the right
Against the sum of human ills,
Then turned her eyes to a far light
Beyond the shadowed hills.

Each found, god-hid, a strange belief
In something always past the goal
That gave them love and work and grief
To find a soul.

They never saw the stony climb
Beyond the foothills of the day,
Nor knew they pledged eternal time
Unto the Way!

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