Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE AWAKENING SOUL, by PERCY STICKNEY GRANT

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THE AWAKENING SOUL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As a new spirit grieving
Last Line: That smooth the onward road.
Subject(s): Psyche (Mythology)


As a new spirit grieving,
Heaven's hosts are just receiving,
Pure from cold Death's dumb shrieving,
Peers through the City gate;
In spite of her fresh wonder
At sight of that life yonder,
Her wish for earth flames fonder
For one now desolate.


She longs for earth and turning,
Looks down where tears are burning,
Where laughter and love's yearning
Mix in the stream of life.
Where shade the sun enlaces,
Where flesh a soul encases,
Where dust a god embraces,
And man is joined to wife.


The arms death loosed still bind her
With bridal sweet reminder,
And the young years behind her,
Until strange soft tears flow.
Although a spirit gleams she,
Again a woman seems she,
Until God's angel deems she
Can then no farther go.


So Psyche feels the motion
Of forces deep as ocean;
Strong, strange, sweet as love's potion, --
Earth's pulses from the past:
The smell of soil and flowers,
Bare bathing in warm showers,
All fair things once her dowers
In thousand strange forms cast.


She looks down in dejection,
Bowed by the stern perfection
Of human, high election
To life beyond the brute.
She loves her older being, --
So blind to heaven, -- but seeing
All life in sense agreeing, --
All love, though love be mute.


She is the crystal's clearness,
Dense matter purged of blearness,
Will, moulding a new nearness,
To man's mind and to God's.
She is the cavern's brightness,
The frost and snow's starred whiteness,
The cataract's frozen lightness;
But ever upward plods.


She is the lotus-flower,
Slime-born, but rich in dower
To pierce, with prescient power
Through every element.
Through mud she blindly passes;
Waves' cool, translucent glasses,
Past dreaming water grasses,
To sunlight's gold content.


Free, free, she cleaves the water,
But flees as if death sought her,
For freedom sadly taught her
To fear and watch for foes.
She sounds dark depths or lashes
Blue waves to foam, or dashes
Out of her world and flashes
In heaven that no life knows.


She is a serpent coiling,
Envenomed and entoiling
All life, or all life soiling
At whose kiss all things die.
She is the lark in heaven,
Hymning the planets seven,
At dewy dawn or even --
Earth's passion winged on high.


She feels the rough surrender
Of flesh to impulse tender,
That mate and cub engender,
In jungles deep and dark.
She knows her own strength matches
The wild, lithe play she watches,
For each fierce thing she catches
She strikes and it is stark.


She is mankind's great mother
Men conscious serve each other,
Now call a God their brother,
And change the world's rough face.
But Psyche on life ponders,
Pries secrets from all wonders,
In prayer the beast life sunders,
And clears for mind more space.


Fear flesh? 'Tis no temptation,
Sing soul in exultation
This heaven of creation,
All beauty wrapped in one.
Tint, touch? A rose's petal,
Past marble or mined metal
To match, wherein is set all
Of grace all love has spun.


Does conscience's birth distress you,
God's constant voice oppress you,
Remorse in mourning dress you,
Till you wish God were not?
Be patient with your weakness,
God will not crush your meekness,
Forsake you in stark bleakness,
With all your good forgot.


As leaves laugh in September,
Which fierce gales would dismember,
Leaves dead before December,
Now clasp each tossing bough;
And bend, sway, roar with laughter,
At the mad wind rushing after,
Though it shake roof and rafter,
It cannot strip them now.


Laugh ye at hostile forces,
Unpent from lower sources,
To war on your high courses,
And watch for your weak hour.
Laugh! Hug life as a passion,
In spite of foes that dash on,
Live in heroic fashion
Souls over death must tower.


Your days are short, so hasten,
O architect and mason
Of life, to help the race on
By buildings vast and free;
A palace for all people,
No roof but stars its steeple,
Where love and justice leap all
Lower tyranny.


Say not that God sees weeping,
And wakes not from His sleeping
When man in sin is steeping,
In sin, lean want and care;
So I will be as God is,
Men shall be as the clod is,
My hand hard as the rod is,
No tears shall soften prayer.


For God's tears are your own tears,
And God's care but your own fears,
Yes, God's pain what your soul bears
Of this world's weary load.
God mourns in your heart broken,
God loves in your fond token,
God speaks when prayers are spoken
That smooth the onward road.

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