Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WEDDING FEAST: 5, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH



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THE WEDDING FEAST: 5, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: At last from dreamless sleep I came
Last Line: To my great love, a holy kiss.
Subject(s): Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives


At last from dreamless sleep I came,
The seeds of fire were in my eyes.
I seemed to come from blood and flame
As from a sacrifice.
Oh in that sleep where had I been,
What fearful pathways had I trod?
What had I done? What had I seen?
That I should feel so near to God!
Upon an altar had I lain.
With snow-white fire they wrapped me round.
I can remember that vast pain,
Spiritual, profound.
For centuries in a speechless place
I was a spent and anguished thing.
They drifted flame upon my face.
I was a sacred offering.
I waked -- and peace was in my eyes,
And happiness did me enfold;
A single sleep had made me wise,
Serene, immeasurably old.
My mortal dream I had laid by
And no desire had I now.
Wrapped in eternal calm was I
And peace was throned upon my brow.
Strange was the place where I had been.
It seemed to me like deepest Hell.
Lo, now I glistened, brightly clean,
Detached, immutable, and well.
And oh, I was not any more
As I had been, unhappy, human,
But beauteous as I was before,
Greater than any mortal woman.
The sunsets of the eternal years
Poured forth for me their mellow wine.
I felt the sunrise of the spheres
My breast incarnadine.
All abroad, on every side,
Singing stars did shine and beat,
And they were messengers of joy
On beautiful swift feet.
Then with my looks I bade them move
With laughter down the sweet blue years,
And they were globed of loveliest love,
Roseate and angelic spheres.
Each to each did cry and sing
Out of their bright melodious mesh.
And lo -- I knew each laughing star
Was spun into my earthly flesh.
Beautiful, before my eyes
Strangest light they did receive.
Orbs of sweetest Paradise!
Gardens where God walked at eye!
For I was come into a place
Wherefrom all things are wrought.
I shaped my body forth in space
In myriad orbs of thought.
Upon the earth, in her father's hall,
I saw a simple maiden stand.
A thousand worlds, I held them all, --
Her mystic body, -- in my hand.
Sweetly to me my great Love came.
"Love, I have waited long," He said.
I poured for Him the mystic wine.
He gave me white angelic bread.
Then did we glow with rapture high!
We felt a deep, ethereal bliss.
He laid me on His breast. I gave
To my great Love, a holy kiss.





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