Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SEVEN WORDS, by GEORGE WILLARD BONTE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SEVEN WORDS, by                    
First Line: Come - come, get up, we must be off
Last Line: "may god have mercy on my soul."
Subject(s): Forgiveness; God; Soul; Clemency

"Come—come, get up, we must be off;
The Master waits—do not delay."
I turn upon my bed of pain—
The gray dawn of another day,
And there in monkish robe and cowl,
A long scythe in his bony hands
Which rattle as he smoothes the blade,
A stranger on the threshold stands.

I reach for garments sadly worn,
Upon the chair beside my bed;
"No—no, not that!" the stranger cries,
"The naked truth must do instead.
Thy clothes are but a sorry mask—
E'en flesh and bones are in the way;
But—come, make haste, we must be off;
The Master waits—do not delay."

"But why this haste," perplexed, I cry;
"May I not send some plea ahead
That will outstrip me to the Goal?"
"There's but one plea"—the stranger said:—
"A group of seven simple words
That thou, and thou alone must say;
But come, we tarry—let's be off;
The Master waits—do not delay."

"One moment, stranger, pray be kind
Enough to pause for one brief space;
Where are those words that I alone
Must speak to gain the Master's grace?"
"They're hidden in the human heart—
They're coins with which to pay the toll."
"At last! I understand thee, friend,—
May God have mercy on my soul."

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