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THE WATCHERS ON THE ROAD, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: The hill road, the desert road
Last Line: With a white and terrible sword.
Alternate Author Name(s): Burt, Struthers
Subject(s): Angels; Deserts; Food & Eating; Roads; Paths; Trails


THE hill road, the desert road,
The road down to the ford:
At each one stands an angel
With a white and terrible sword,
And through the day and through the dark
They watch in the name of the Lord.

Stark as the heat of burning noon
The brooding in their eyes;
The swords they bear are keener far
Than wind-whipped, sun-swept skies;
And the stirring of their wings is such
As when a great tree dies.

The crickets in the grass give pause
When the great swords ring;
The leopards hark of a star-still night,
The eagle rests on the wing:
And only the little folk go by
Nor know the wondrous thing.

Only the little folk who crowd
The roads as they travel by,
With their laden wains of foolish gear,
To the town against the sky;
And they never know, the little folk,
That the watch of the Lord is nigh.

Perchance at night a lonely one,
Or one who drinketh late,
Senses the glimmer of a sword,
Or the stir of the wings of fate,
And a moment his eyes are troubled
As he fumbles at his gate.

But save for this, the road so filled,
They look not left nor right,
Lest by day their hearts be dazzled,
Lest they lose their way by night,
And a gleam they see, they write it down,
As star or street-lamp light.

Once on a time, there came a man,
With the fine heart of the seer,
And straight he beheld the watchers
And cried that the Lord was near: —
But the little folk, they blinded him,
And cast him out for fear.

The desert road is hot and cruel,
Hard is the road to the ford,
And at each one stands an angel
With a white and terrible sword.





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