Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RUINS REBUILT, by ADOLPH BOCK

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

RUINS REBUILT, by            
First Line: God said, 'let there be light!' and lo!
Last Line: Behold, humanity come forth to pray.
Subject(s): Creation; Death; God; Heaven; Humanity; Religion; Dead, The; Paradise; Theology

GOD said, "Let there be light!" And Lo! The day
Descending mount and vale, agleam with sun,
Broke scintillating o'er an altar-cloth
Of crystal snow, late fallen ere the dawn.
And thus, 'tho God's Cathedral lies a wreck,
Each Chapel desecrated, as a tomb
Death-scorned, His wrath enkindles starlit watch
In heaven's gorgeous blue, arched wide to vault
Fair Nature's landscape in one great abode.

Each sanctuary 'neath its chancel lies,
Cold, desolate and dark, dismantled,—dead.
Inscriptions weird on beam and wall are writ
In cruel characters by hands of steel.
Here, sculptures cut by rains of liquid fire,
There, pictures brushed in blood and filth and smoke.
While molds and mosses weave, in varied hues
Of time and season, tapestries enshrouding
The history of those but late departed.

In contemplation of this scene of Hell,
And of the evil part that I have played
I come to pause before my image, seen
In the portrayal or my picturing mind,
And stand dismayed, loath to admit the truth!
The outward sham! The ruins of myself!
The devastation wreaked by change and time!
Yet, o'er the form, the lines, the colors, scars
Of my own wreck, I know that Nature reigns.

Oh, I am more than flesh and frame to fail
In heat and cold and storm of passion! More
Than creature of a moment, foreordained
Alone to sense perception. For when I find
Divinity in thee, then is myself
Revealed to me. No temporary being
Art thou to entertain me for a day.
But, coextant with all eternity,
We take our source and refuge in one God.

Thus God speaks still. And Lo! The purple dawn
Glows o'er the mountains, rolls aloft the veil
Hung gray before His Shrine, and bursts aflame
In red and green and gold about His Throne.
Still morning's starry tapers scintillate
Serene, sweet Peace upon earth's altar-cloth
Inwrought with sparkling diamond-crystalled dew.
And, mingled in the radiance of new day
Behold, Humanity come forth to pray.

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