Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SAINT BRANDAN OF THE WEST, by ROBERT PETER TRISTRAM COFFIN



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SAINT BRANDAN OF THE WEST, by            
First Line: Sweet is the furrow that leads to the star that closes day
Last Line: And lay my burning face in the white, sweet curve of his hand.
Subject(s): Brendan, Saint (484-578); Brendan Of Clonfert; Brandan, Saint; Brandon, Saint; Brennainn, Saint; Brendan The Voyager


Sweet is the furrow that leads to the star that closes day,
Sweet are lamps, sweet are words the homing plowmen say;
Cities are fair where sons of men
Hear churchbells and turn again;
Wine is good and windows men have wrought with their hands,
The feet of holy men make lovely the green, good lands.
But the high, high hills of the sea
That climb to the knees of God
Are the places singing to me, places for praise most fair;
To sail to the edge of the world is worship for me and prayer.

I ask not house nor hearth, only the sail grown full
With the beauty of white, white winds and the rudder ropes to pull.
Islands will blossom out as white
As ever they were Creation night,
The stars will hang my spars with lanterns, and the moon
Come over the water like many and many golden shoon;
The dawn shall be my wife,
The noon shall be my friend,
And evening neighbor me. I need not harp or words,
Only the setting sun and the beauty and wings of the birds.
To be alone with the lonely birds that take their food
From God's own hand, to plunge as the dolphins that are thewed
With flame and the drops at the fountain's crest
And all swift things that will not rest,
To be a fever of joy that burns around the earth
Like the stars that follow day in everlasting mirth,
To lie below the sail,
My crystal vase of winds --
This were wife and child, brother and church to me,
An everlasting kiss, the lone fierce kiss of the sea.

Others may have my flocks, others may trim and train
The roses God makes of sun, of blood and marrow and rain
My flowers are sudden as summer thunder,
They blossom blue where the waves curl under.
I go with all things wisful of the West, I go
Where the sons of morning stand whiter than driven snow,
In between the wings
Of the great and last white clouds. . . .
Shoulder there to shoulder with them I shall stand
And lay my burning face in the white, sweet curve of His hand.





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