Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SECRET WRITING, by ALICE CARY



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SECRET WRITING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: From the outward world about us
Last Line: Of the spirit comes to light.
Subject(s): Family Life; Writing & Writers


FROM the outward world about us,
From the hurry and the din,
Oh, how little do we gather
Of the other world within!
For the brow may wear upon it
All the seeming of repose
When the brain is worn and weary,
And the mind oppressed with woes:
And the eye may shine and sparkle
As it were with pleasure's glow,
When 't is only just the flashing
Of the fires of pain below.
And the tongue may have the sweetness
That doth seem of bliss a part,
When 't is only just the tremble
Of the weak and wounded heart.
Oh, the cheek may have the color
Of the red rose, with the rest,
When 't is only just the hectic
Of the dying leaf, at best.

But when the hearth is kindled,
And the house is hushed at night --
Ah, then the secret writing
Of the spirit comes to light!
Through the mother's light caressing
Of the baby on her knee,
We see the mystic writing
That she does not know we see --
By the love-light as it flashes
In her tender-lidded eyes,
We know if that her vision rest
On earth, or in the skies;
And by the song she chooses,
By the very tune she sings,
We know if that her heart be set
On seen, or unseen things.

Oh, when the hearth is kindled --
When the house is hushed -- 't is then
We see the hidden springs that move
The open deeds of men.
As the father turns the lesson
For the boy or girl to learn,
We perceive the inner letters
That he knows not we discern.
For either by the deed he does,
Or that he leaves undone,
We find and trace the channels
Where his thoughts and feelings run.
And often as the unconscious act,
Or smile, or word we scan,
Our hearts revoke the judgments
We have passed upon the man.

Sometimes we find that he who says
The least about his faith,
Has steadfastness and sanctity
To suffer unto death;
And find that he who prays aloud
With ostentatious mien,
Prays only to be heard of men,
And only to be seen.
For when the hearth is kindled,
And the house is hushed at night --
Ah, then the secret writing
Of the spirit comes to light.





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