Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CHRISTINE AND MARY; A CORRESPONDENCE, by ELIZA KEARY

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
CHRISTINE AND MARY; A CORRESPONDENCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Mary, sister, mary of angels
Last Line: One with him king of suffering.


MARY, sister, Mary of angels,
Theodora, -- no, let the old name die
That was yours, that is love's,
Lie still, -- it's asleep dear, Mary --
And yet, do you think I forget,
Don't grudge you even a little to Heaven,
And you smiling, scoffing me,
Calling you chosen of Him for His bride?
But oh! shame, killing love with that name.
He was tender once; was He tender,
And is He cruel now?
Laying low the heart's beat of love,
"Will ye climb, will ye reach up to Heaven," saying,
"Great Love and be God?
So are you ripe for my slaying;
Be accurst, bow, burst asunder, weak hearts,
I am Lord, I, One."
Was He tender, was He weak, was He lone?
And now this; and thou His?
Alas the life that has been,
Our life! Mary, spare me but one sigh, dear,
One heart's throb, some pitiful reply,
For I'm yours yet, dear, Love's yet,


Friend, little weak fair Christine, see
What a wail came, your long sigh
To my dove's nest. O! but my nest is built high,
Here at Heaven's edge. In His love
On the warm snowy breast of His bride,
I well hidden, revelling in the sweets.
Christine, He called me, I was bidden;
Listen how He called -- no, that was eternally,
How I heard. On one eve then --
You remember our room,
The little dear room in our world's home, where we
Oft by the lattice sat talking familiarly,
Now with one or another
Sweet word of our love each for other,
Of our loves shared, our light cares,
Our young joys, our fears,
As the years flew; until I,
With a little flutter apart, I from you
Borne, by what will I know not,
Even in its stress scarcely knew, now all's dim,
But the breach grew, I being pressed back
From you, from your wide reach, within
To His rest, into Him.
On one eve then, we having been together bodily,
But your being gone,
The warm clasp of your hand only left,
And sweet print of a kiss, I alone
In the luscious solitude of the long hours, stood
Hushed, by the little crucifix.
It was June --
O, the great soulless joy of the year!
Flushed at flood height of luxury,
Drunk with God's blood --
I by the little crucifix stood,
Pondering, pale by the cold form,
Cold within and crushed into a dark night,
Wondering, He that made it all,
Life of the life in me,
Life of the whole universe inwardly,
Is He in anguish still and mourning
For the love of the scorning world?
Crucified, O crucified!
And lo! "Behold me," the pale lips sighed,
Yea, once, twice, thrice, 'twas spoken.
Then, "Behold me," my whole soul replied,
"Lord, but one little word,
Life-spark from Thee, one word --
And let all die, every love in me else,
If that I have but Thee,
Bruised, broken beneath Thine agony."
Once, twice, and thrice -- as I crept close
Into the ark, the nest, the bride,
Into the pulse, into the life, into the wounded side
Sealed with the love-kiss,
By His own inner token His;
So, in the night I rose; not I,
Where is there any longer one, Christine,
Of the dim years floated by,
One you held lovingly,
One of the happy twain?
Let it all pass, dear, put the old loves away,
Come to the dear feet with me, kiss them, stay,
Let the grey years drop by the road-side heaped up for death,
List what the Beloved saith,
Sayeth ever "Behold me," lie
Where I lay that day,
Let the loving breath blow by and slay,
Pray to Mary. Not yours dear, but Christ's for aye,


Mary, your message came, chill wind
Upon thirsty ground; you have forgotten me;
Your heart is full, it has no empty plot
Set tender-wise with yearning, like some fair spot
Of earth flower-hiding, that turns
A tremulous gaze spring-wards, that pants and burns,
Shudders and sighs,
Under denying skies,
Still to their chills, pale want confiding;
You are all blest,
Cradled upon His breast,
Who will have all or none.
He who is great alone, in selfish bliss,
Who has robbed me of thee; I rebel, Mary,
Sound my cry high,
Who will have all of us, wrongs our humanity.
See, you say, "God and me,
It is enough, is all, God," you cry,
"I have Thee, Thou me, die
Every hope beside, every love, let the whole world cease,
And God, if there still be Thou,
And my soul feeling Thee,
Let be; it is all peace, one peace, unfathomable eternally."
But I -- I cry, is there One?
O love! or any life alone?
You say, "Him and me,"
It should be "me" really "me,"
For 'tis this your bliss,
"I love my heart's love, call it Him, call Him mine."
O! awake, dear, break the mirror, see the full sun shine,
Light deep, deep shade.

All the writhing, shivering fragments that the strong gusts have made;
Look at life, see the time,
Is it one, pitiful, base, cruel, weak, broken, sublime,
Thousand hearts, thousand hands, stretching up, eager, wan,
Grasping life, craving death with each new hope gone,
And He, is He here, Mary, where?
In our tears, laughter, life, or death, courage, despair?
For me, I can see but these
Crying pity, pity, pity, and find no peace.


Christine, I am on my knees,
I am weeping,
Oh! I could crouch to the earth, weep age on age
In the dust, break my weak body,
Shed all my blood, to assuage
This agony, reflex of God's pangs.
Look, you have wounded Him,
Stricken the Stricken One;
Let the words ring to deafen you,
You have pricked thorns into His brow;
Know, He was looking down tenderly through
Your complaint, saying, "Give it to me,
All the full burden, give it to me and live."
But you, worm of the dust, turned,
Struck the sad face that yearned,
That burned with blushes for man,
Saying, None of Thee, robber, not Thee,
But all these whom I pity.
Christ, I could laugh at Thy great irony.
Did Thy lip quiver, did Thy heart leap compassionate?
O friend, God's enemy,
What fires can purge one sin speck out of His vision?
What thy fierce hate?
Where is my love? Alas, do I love God's enemy?
Yet I will pray. He will repent
And break you, or Mary will entreat,
Mary importunate.
Cover Thy Son, Mother,
A too fierce fire of purity and passion,
And shine, sweet moon, in the night of our souls.
He is thine; thou art mine, Mary.
But I forget --
Is my love all set heavenwards, then?
I know not, though I wot what I desire,
Nigher my bridegroom, nigher.
Christine, shall He give all, nor claim us?
Have you forgotten our piteous estate?
We, all men, man, the devil's blot
Upon His great, fair, finished, glory world,
Our being His wrath, our end --
Ah! you are broken, 'tis enough, friend,
Through dim eyes you see Him as I see
White light, the lightning purity
Flashing to man from Deity.
Love-fire out of wrath's flame,
Lapping the gulf, God in the shame
Of flesh, and He
New from won victory
Out of the height by the fire-white Throne
Looking down, yearning for this our love.
O Majesty, that He can need, that He should plead.
Lo! 'tis the sunlight of His deep,
I see it break the unfathomed gloom,
Strike towards its bounds,
Sweet sounds that wake
Th' unsearchable silence.
O mystery, in which we die,
But He endureth
Over all death.
Alas, I cannot win you, what am I?
Unworthiest in our Carmel
Yet let that pass, of less or greater. I would tell
Of some sweet message or miracle
Our mother Theresa had or wrought,
Or some God-boon that fell
On her, bought by shed blood of Calvary.
She, listen, we read this in the refectory
The year I was professed.
It is all clear and wondrous in my memory.
Theresa, one night in sleep,
She had slept in prayer, with hands clasped on the cross,
Self-penanced fallen upon the bare cold floor,
Was shadowed by some angel methinks who bore
Her soul waked in his consciousness,
Down to the pit, showing her there
Her place, the very fire and depth of it,
Ready for her to inherit,
Sole lot when she had died,
Which she, all flesh, had found,
But for the sin-bound God, the Crucified,
Prepared and sealed, and written over thus,
"For one Theresa, God's enemy and the devil's slave,"
Which, with intense fire of vision,
In meek desire to explore
God's home for her, by His pure wrath declared
She pierced to its very core.
Nor of her agony spared she aught for pretence
Of impotent defence against His exquisite anger,
Gazing condemned upon her soul the damned,
Till to her flesh-life stung once more
By the clutched cross in her hand,
Pressed underneath as she lay,
And "Jesus, Jesus," with scarce breath
Left from that vision of death
To pray, prayed she --
Christine, and prayed through years and years
In memory of it, abased, dismayed,
Tortured with shame,
That she could find no tears
Of agony and penitence and gratitude
Commensurate, to bathe His name in,
Drop by Gethsemane's blood.
Listen, she agonized for these,
Cried, fasted, strove with the very Love
That it might please Him even to turn
And burn her soul in the fire,
So she might love some wise.
Till -- did the pure will prevail,
Heaven's wall fall at her cries,
Desire compel desire?
Fail we, friend, fail,
Veil we our eyes before His mysteries,
Speak with low breath,
Beat faintly, heart,
Start not, awed face, before the page I trace.
She, ever as she was wont to be,
Before the cross, inwardly writhing night and day,
Before it outwardly in her body lay
One night, at midnight, as alway
In the convent chapel, --
Jesu, the angels remember it well,
Up, up in Heaven as I believe,
And give a little festive hour to Mary still
In memory of sweet aid she gave.
Who is't but Mary that can have
Half will with her great Son?

Alone, alone,
From sisterhood, from brotherhood,
From any power of human good,
Darkness all behind and around,
Only ghostlike eyes of the night
Met her gaze --
Gleams from the tall white tapers that stood
Before Him hidden,
In the secret tabernacle He dwells in,
Palpitates there, the soul's live food.
One moment like to another rose
In the dim quietude;
Ghost-lights gleaming close
To the wan heart, saw almost
Its anguish lost,
Of wild desire and will,
It lay so still pain quelled at last.
When, lo, there passed
A glimmer athwart Him,
Then a luminous haze
Swelled, tender, increasing, through th' amazed place,
She unaware, it came so soft, filling all space
Between Him hidden, and her uplifted face;
And still it grew and grew, and oft
A shimmer ran through it like a wave
Of life, as when the spirit moved
Of old upon the deep, the ancient deep first God beloved.

Until from base to height
With soft increase it swelled,
From bound to bound
Expelled the night,
Girdled with peace
The sacred precincts round.
He in the midst and she
All faint, fallen on the ground,
Swooning by cause of this great mystery,
E'en though she knew it not that midnight hour;
No power was left in her
Who had so striven,
No will, nor consciousness,
A lifeless clay,
Prostrate, death-still she lay
Upon the brink of Heaven,
And He was at her side,
The Bridegroom come to meet His bride.
"Theresa, where is thy soul's desire?"
But she was mute;
Prayers that were wont upon words of fire
To search the abyss of eternity,
Fierce in pursuit prayer upon prayer
That had pierced, O Mary, to the inner sea
God looks into;
Ruffling the depths of its profound blue
Whole moments --
Which the very breath of hell's torments can't do.

All were mute.
The said Mary's sweet Son,
"Shall I lose my Bride's love, Mother?
Even this one
Weak soul's little love?"
Instant a seraph that stood
At the deep's edge, robed in flame, red as blood,
Who bore in his hand a dart lightning-like, fine,
Unforged, from God's armoury,
Whetted with sacramental wine,
Torn whole a live pain out of the eternal heat,
Raised high his overshadowing wings, beat
The great calm once, and like a thought had sped
Down to the chapel floor;
There, into the very heart that swooned,
The bodily heart of her lying as if dead,
Plunged he the heavenly steel,
Wounded with a God-wound --
Seraph terrible, caught up instantly,
Of the fire of the Lord born,
A sword drawn and withdrawn --
Then she who in long lethargy
Had lain bound
Burst the cold fetters,
Broke into heavenly morn,
Night passed, awoke
Self-slain at last, at last, at last.
Thus from death-swoon our great saint was revived,
And ever by life of that sweet pain she lived
Through years and years
God-wounded; her virgin heart
Verily bleeding around the heavenly dart,
Until that day of bliss,
Which for all Christ's brides there is,
When loved face through black pall
Beaming on troubled gaze,
Stoops low to kiss,
And the wan heart creeps warm
To the embrace
Of the Bridegroom's arm.


Loving just her deliverer Mary,
All self, all self, and He --
Some other projected self seeming to save from misery,
The self which does not seem
But is true centre of the whole scheme.
Thus, thus they preach, all churches much the same,
Expounding the unutterable name.
For you, for me, for us
They teach and say
Things that have sickened me,
So many a weary day,
I'm sick to death of teachers speaking so doubly,
They would turn truth itself into a very lie.
I've tried to look at Him,
To see some God. Bear
With me, dear. Hear
How I've grown to what I am.
Yes, I too, we two together lived and prayed
Innocently in the still purity of youth.
Sweet Time delayed
To awaken us; we had no fears,
No tears save childhood's April drops we ever shed.
Loved we, all free
From struggle, unshaken by perplexity,
The dear God so near,
And Him divine who bled
For us, for all, so fairly 'twas pourtrayed,
Great truth that seemed to shine so calm and clear.
Till you, stirred by what breath
I knew not, in the unseen depth
Saddened and drew apart, within;
Fair life was marred for you methinks
By his other half, his twin
Intruding, a small worm of death
Upon your innermost, your mystery, writhing in;
Life, death, calm, change --
Unhinged from your life's centre thought began to range.
Not through wide tracts though, over wastes, or steeps,
Horrible precipices, lands night cold,
Impervious wildernesses, sun scorched sands
Where the souls lie
Gasping for breath in life's intensity,
But in old paths that wound
Long since amongst the creeds
That wind all churches round;
Old paths, fair set with stream and shade,
And flowers, and festivals, and many a safe made
Cradle of rest for tired souls resting in holiest places,
Fair hills, fair vales sun-kissed, sleeping in heaven's embraces.
There your love strayed,
And there you said you found
Verily I know not what rare balm to cover o'er some wound;
Strange joy, you said, strong rest and fullest quietude,
Bonds that gave zest to freedom; chained you stood
And smiled, spread all your fetters to my gaze,
Toying with them like any child with toy new bought.
I had no guide, you said, who held aloof and thought,
No place inside the fold;
Then, caught my arm to an embrace,
"See, I am armour proof," you cried,
"In white and gold,
I am so safe, so sure from harm;
Come in, O friend,
The days are short of grace,
And the world lost in sin,
Come in, there is one refuge given
Alone, one creed, one church, one food, one sacramental way to Heaven."
So pleading, whilst I heard,
As ever beloved, holding your lightest word
For truth's own voice;
Scarcely with choice apart
From my half heart,
My life's whole love;
And still I heard, but could not,
Could not when most I would --
What? shut out all beside.
My brain turned faint, brought
To the foot of it, to close around that thought.
Then my will split,
How! -- was it that I had wandered too,
Alas, alas, like you, far from the old, dear ground?
For even as I turned,
Meagre in argument, seeking the food
Of our unconscious babyhood
We had shared once content,
And eager to share once more one simple nourishment,
Offered it you in haste;
The taste, bitter to you, was to me alien.
We knew it not, our blest
Child-home in the far years' sunny gleam,
To you a robber's nest, to me a dream.
Where was my peace? Had it slipt wide, or I?

'Twixt then and now, a waste; 'twas all I could descry.
A waste, that grew,
Alas, even between us two, Theodora.
Yes, hear the dear name once again,
Once only again my God-given.
Ah! but the old pain is all new;
God, will it never die,
Of one love riven in twain?
A waste, and each fain
To o'erreach it, sending words,
Love's messengers, that like birds
Who drop dead in the dead salt sea,
But an instant's space sped and fell silently.
'Tis our hearts that beseech each other,
I thought, our speech is naught;
'Tis our hearts that beseech each other,
I thought, our speech is naught;
'Tis I that am naught, I sighed,
Wont to fulfil her and now thrust aside,
And cried loudly in my complaint,
Whilst you, sweet saint,
Growing weary of me, I think, sat mild
And silent, listening to my wild
Ravings; you would pray,
You said, and ever grew day by day
Contenter, more apart, more rapt;
And often a smile would steal
Across your rest, and your quiet mood
Flush with new impulse of the blood,
Then, tell me I used to cry,
What is't, what memory,
What new hope i' the bud you brood upon?
And calm you would reveal
Some grave beatitude,
Half curse as well.
Flowers out of hell those seemed to me,
You deemed all good.
Till on a day we sat,
Cheek pressed to cheek,
Hand clasped in hand,
I would not speak,
And you, content thereat or careless,
Whilst your full eyes scanned
The scene, a land most gentle and fair before us,
Whose tenderest form of breast and fall,
Type of pure rest, all summer warm,
Was set in the glow
Of a large sun low in the sky,
Drew your sweet life in out of the unseen;
There where I palpitating within, raging,
Nothing but cruelty saw,
Only death and despair could draw
Out of the seen and the unseen.
"Cheeks and brows close,
A universe apart," I mourned,
And a strong curse
Out of my bitterness rose
To my heart's edge with irresistible overflow,
Flooding my whole life till now.
For that spiritual life inborn,
I had seen born in you,
Selfishly, cruelly inborn,
Seed of some dreamed-of immortality,
The self-begotten, love-condemning lie,
Hateful to me, became
Hateful, O thenceforth utterly.
So when anon, of sweet message brought
To you, you spoke, of that yet higher call
To be one with the bride-church not only,
But even a bride of Christ, caught
Into the mystery
Of innermost tryste with Him in the eternal Ghost,
Fiercely I cried, Go in, O bride, O virgin bride,
Draw thick the veil,
Leaving us lost in sin,
Who neither will pray, nor quail
Outside the pale.
We who love free air height on height,
The expanse, the out-pressing infinite,
For ever the advance to the unknown, the untried.
We do not envy. What! we are sore in need,
Do you tell us? Not of your God then, --
Him you adore, God, man-magnified,
The man of each age that is, just this,
Nor bettered, but monstered on every side,
Man-god, half love, half curse,
O pitiless will-force,
Making us thus to condemn us.
"Save us," you say.
Yes, a picked few driven through some narrow way
Up to the safe seats, safe above the flame
The million tortured lie in,
Whose smoke goes up eternally
Into the nostrils of Deity.
Saved -- where they cry
Their Holy, holy, holy to His name,
With endless hallelujahs glorify Him, glorify.
I -- I would rather lie in the agony, smell
The cloud of the torment smoke
As it belches out of the jaws of hell.
Thus with the cry
Of a rebel, even of an enemy
In my heart, a cry all churches justify,
The cry of my soul's pity,
Binding me to humanity,
I have lived through passionate years, Mary,
Years you have given to heaven,
You have lived within, with Him.
And, do you think I haven't wanted Him too?
Sick of my enmity, haven't yearned like you
For the unseen?
To love, to love, to worship,
O from one's life source up to the lip
All through? With eyes inturned
You had seen, O God, not God --
Your nobler self would have spurned
That image, marred by base gratitude,
Stained with innocent blood,
But for the lies of creeds, blinding your eyes,
Binding you with your dread of possible needs,
When a soul all bare
Might stand and plead
In utter extremity with One,
"Open the door, Lord, Lord,
The night is dark indeed,
My foes are near to assail,
And I alone;
My numb feet fail for fear,
Weary and sore,
Open the door."
And He, hearing her cry,
Should keep close the door,
And laugh at her calamity
And mock her fear.
But, He had saved you,
He was your God, God of the favoured few.

I, on the other side not willing to find inwardly,
Since I had foresworn all selfhood in faith,
Sought all pervading good.
If there be God, I thought, He must
Be, not what they teach, but just
Divinely, only beneficent, wide, free
From all passions of poor humanity,
Unruffled, wise beyond power of prayer to fulfil
All times, perfect in power and will.
Could I have loved such! But did I find Him?
What faiths hold such up to our eyes?
Mary, philosophy and dreams have some such verbiage,
Gleams in the night, will-o'-the-wisps,
Empty of warmth, with unreal light
Leading the uncertain steps through comfortless ways.
For what age speaks good, good only,
Or finds but praise in humanity's cries?
None, and they are pitiless who say
Time testifies to One all good who yet is all in all,
Stable, benevolent, supreme, inevitable --
Inscrutable -- yes, yes, see how it slips from the grasp.
For I have seen this, Mary,
That only as creeds explicitly declare Him,
Profane Him by vain records,
In crude words dare to explain Him,
They carry in their rude force
Vitality to the source of times impulsing hearts and deeds,
But, wrath with the life mixt,
Progress with strife equally,
Creed following creed over the surface of the centuries,
And only the evil out of each one rising for it to drown in,
As one after another dies.
This too, that ever as an exalted few,
Wearied with multiplicity of impure impulse,
And longing for some one verity,
Have out of the inner light,
And by sweet thirst for gentleness, truth, right,
Timidly forth-shadowed some dim
Image of Him, intangible, an unreal Supreme,
With reverence meet only half-uttered.
The vapourous cloud glory
Has been unreachable by the crowd,
Or a thin mist shroud
Only, wrapping them in from the real world below;
The colour, the light,
But a sunset glow
That fades in the night.
So may not they be wise
After all, I have asked, who say
The world is about us, the Heavens are far away?
Enough are the years for man to have spent in vain,
Extolling the heights he cannot attain
To, the knowledge that flies
Him, a tremulous bridge overarching the earth through the skies,
Touching nowhere, a vapour --
And what is it worth?
Here the truth lies --
Facts of our bodily life, that our bodily eyes
Can investigate, our minds classify
Which science heaps up eternally.
O beautiful succession of causes, sequences
We can learn perfectly!
Is't not enough? Must we scale the air
To fall again miserably, blinded, scarred,
Useless, or noisome in the world's workshop,
Where each link marred of the great chain
Is just so much on the loss side of humanity?
And in pain I have answered, Yes.
For is not this clear, Mary,
That the Unseen being reachable by
The inner light only, or through authority,
In an age when this breaks, wallowing in the pit,
Disgraced, below popular instinct, or possible belief in it,
When science vociferates "Matter makes mind,
This inner light, this consciousness, this I,
What is't? that takes only shifting forms, lacking identity
From moment to moment even, deceivable,
Incapable to grasp aught but its own sensations verily" --
We find both doors into Heaven shut; blind
In the dark; blind, blind.

Well, I'd forsworn myself,
Light, rest inborn, life for myself --
'Twas right, 'twas best, 'twas just,
That I should know the unreality,
Seek to the outward utterly,
Low in the dust, the common dust of humanity.
So I've grown to be this, dear, and can you forgive
That I don't love as you love,
Or believe as you believe?
Ah! but you love Him too much, Mary,
Spare Him such worship to bless you for.
Besides, won't you have Him eternally?
But to my empty heart, that will crumble to nothing by and bye,
Wants you more, O more, Mary. Give
It a little love, dear, to live by whilst it must live.


What! have you fallen so low then, Christine,
So low indeed in the dust,
Not of humanity, because men are just
Need, inextinguishable need of Him;
Raised from the brutes by this,
The breath of their very being,
That which they live and die by,
What the second death cannot destroy,
Torturing it into agony?
No, you can't flee Him,
Is there one empty spot?
Not in the star depths even,
Not in the wastes of thought.
And listen; He is no less in Hell than in Heaven.
Must you cull bitterness from the root of joy?
Will you drink fire out of the tender breath? O, why?
What a mire of lies 'tis that you rot it!
An unreal Supreme! Christine,
It was sin to me reading your blasphemies,
My misery too, lacking surprise,
Confounds me the more, for did I cry,
Did I plead with you half enough,
Little one, lost one, thrown
On that devil's road that has one end only.
Alas that you should have sighted it, friend!
And do you know this,
The devils all lie in wait
Delighted, by the road side from its wide gate
At the beginning, with guide post written this wise:
"Each for himself to search and judge and see,
Secure in hard individuality,
Critical, free from inspired authority
Of the Bride-church:"
Until the hour of absolute unfaith be reached,
They may devour the souls in --
Unfaith, unfaith, even in that freedom claimed,
Even in that maimed individuality.

You had no guide, O friend, outside
The pale, outside --
Negative Churches, that have no life nor growth in them,
Do the angels wonder, think you,
Who are all love and humility,
Seeing these fall asunder?
But, O! that I could have snatched you out of the perilous way!
Did I pray half enough? did I cry night and day?
Might He have had mercy?
What! has He less than I!
Die, insolent pity!
Ah! true is't the pit yawns close by us ever,
Whilst Heaven dawns afar. Aid us, Mary, help-giver!

You know, Christine, how these two,
Worship and pity, swayed me equally, even as you
Once, lying close, until He rose
A Sun full orbed on my soul
All amazed, all absorbed,
Self effaced as she gazed,
A tablet erased for God to write on.
All her pity in drawn,
Laid to rest on His breast,
In whose peace depths of yore
Slept all virtues compact,
In full power to be,
Before power of the act began
In time's dawn, the hour
That begat these and man.
Since then, they're one, one in me,
Worship and pity, because He
All my love has, all my will,
All necessity to do or to be,
Being as He is in me.
Am I torn now, betwixt praise and pain?
How possibly, never more, never more,
Who adore Him self-slain!
Earth-lights fade in the sun, true --
And deepest light, deepest shade,
Through all One.
Can it loss be,
Updrawn from life's course,
To lie still, eased from self,
To die in life's source;
You call this self, to love so --
Do you know love, then?
Christine, in the world's love even
I remember how life, young, sweet,
Infinitely tender, from the bud
Blown complete into flowerhood, yet incomplete
Thrills to want's pulse, grown up to pain;
How the heart-beats wax and wane
Until one meets and fills
The eternity -- for a life say,
An instant, with only a handful of clay,
And ecstasy of union all that pain stills,
And that want satisfies,
Even as the self lies hidden.
Listen to love's mystery;
A labyrinth each is to each,
Each lost in each, a rich amaze,
Circling delights of amaranthine ways,
Dewed with the morning freshness of the days.
But what? A Lethe draught
Quaffed at Heaven's brink,
Self dying to consciousness; and yet
Human with human through what stress so ever of love met
Mingles imperfectly, not interpenetrates,
Weighed asunder by this,
That each to each mortal is,
Human units apart,
Joined in will, heart to heart may be,
Self taking sweet rest, yet awaking,
And so purged scarcely,
For spirit only spirit can inherit;
But when He takes the soul,
Lo! the whole interpenetrates,
Spirit, clay, to Him one --
The atom fades in the sun circles,
Merged in absolute union.
Limit separates from the limitless,
Makes the I,
Limit wiped out in light -- impersonality.
Thou, Thou, Thou only, Thou through me.
Of my love, of my joy, of my pity,
What is there now? all that I was,
Ceased utterly.
Do you call this praise for safety?
This, love for bliss?
Know, if it could be, out of the dust I speak,
That for His glory's sake,
Or to satisfy some necessity of His being,
He were to make
Desolation in His temple. Thrust aside
Her, even the Bride-Church, to lie
Eternally in the flame,
Denied him eternally;
Meek to fulfil her part
She would be found, lying lowly,
Crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy," to His name.
O sacred Heart!
O bleeding Heart of the Crucified!
Is it pain the souls shrink from, nailed to the Cross,
Sorrow, self-loss, do you think,
Back from Hell's brink?
No, for they know these,
Can watch the throes of unavailing agonies,
Brave to embrace
Uttermost anguish of the place
God looks upon.
But the lost love Him not, and, lo!
They stagger and reel, crushed backward by the blow
Of hate, calling importunate for great deliverance.
Lord! 'tis our life to love Thee;
Yet this too at Thy word --
What severance possibly?
See, what we might have been,
How planned if He had willed.
Shut from Him, dim in consciousness, within
Bodily keen senses, with low rapture filled,
Below strife of desire;
Made like the devils whose breath is hate's fire.
But instead -- O bounteous shade
Of being into being -- from scant
Feeblest motion, up through joy, strength, want,
Grade up to grade, fiercer, higher,
Beyond perfectest passion of life we aspire,
Immortals He only can satisfy,
Called forth for delight,
Response of the Infinite.
Yet men will not turn, will not fill
The great Heart with love.
O, shame! all shame above,
Loss beneath loss --
Though He cries from the cross,
"It is done!"
Though He cries, "Of the ten
Is there one?"
Though He cries from the waste,
The Alone.
So we haste. Is there cure for such pain?
O, can love staunch Thy blood, Thou love-slain?
Yet we cry, we His chosen ones, "I,
I am here, Lord, take me,
This folded heart, Thy white lily,
Kept for Thee."

There was joy for us, Christine, only joy
That time when the people raged,
When sublime death flew at the instant
Hither, thither, like the spirit blowing;
When one knew not going
From mart to home, if he should meet
Heaven or hell in the poor street.
Joy for us there was, ecstasy,
Seeing the thin veil drawn
To a mist, frail as the haze of dawn,
But a shade's shade between us and Him.
The clay coldening to death,
The white soul at the verge
With wings spread, uplift,
All but dipped for the rapture,
Her flight into Him.

True, they outraged Him,
Their infamies raged,
Their fires scorched the skies;
But His own flew
With whole love t' assuage Him,
With live coals from the altar --
Through such sin, so much grace.
Yea, did the weak heart falter,
Did the rapt face pale,
Even when the evil turned
Round on itself?
Slayer by slayer slain, men drowning in blood.
Nay -- it is His command,
Man's hand against th' uplifted hand.
Is it not good?
Easily we rejoiced at the vengeance, and
At a thousand-fold had even a thousand-fold been glad
If only had one pitifullest soul perchance
Been lifted by suffering out of its mire of sin, --
One soul, one soul. Who knows
The soul's last God-clasp at its close
Of time? How He,
Out of an instant shaping eternity,
Can drink the life into Himself
Even off the charnel's brink?

Verily we are but flowers and grass,
A day's breath, gone to-morrow,
Only sunshine, or rain,
Our joy and our sorrow;
And yet our pain is pain.
Thrust out from the hearts of men,
Who shall say, does not the lonely heart
Drop in the desert blood?
Pulses of the Immortal in worms of clay.
What when He then, Love Himself,
Has been thrust aside,
Must not His wound be?
In the dust, in the dust let us lie,
Covered with penitential ashes, silently
Before Love's woe,
We know not, nor can ever know.

But, when the tide ebbs at last,
And the storm, passed into upper air,
Leaves a bare earth, ridden, emptied of her violent throes,
Then the chidden flowers,
Risen after rain,
Kiss the unhappy winds with their perfume,
Hidden well, inwardly folded during the cruel blast,
So we, flowers of His spirit garden
That grow beside the water-courses
Where our Beloved feeds,
Break our close leaves with sighing as He passes
Amidst the feathery fragrance of tall reeds and grasses,
Bent and re-risen;"Love, but one little moment turn,
Rest and abide with love;
Dead lies the storm;
New light embraces Thy beloved form;
The pressed sward clasps Thy feet,
A little while -- towards us, is it not meet
To move amongst Thy flowers lovingly,
That bloom for Thee of love?"

Thus, and 'tis ever thus, Christine,
Out of hate-furrows most love grows.
Hear! There was one of us,
A sister, who here in this very spot
Living, long time ago, through terrible years,
Her very name forgot,
Has left white record of her in tender words
Written on her cell walls
E'en with blood and tears, as we think,
A love-song to her Adored,
Which in the dim space,
Between her pallet's place
And the high window barred,
We trace, broken and smeared here and there, hard
To decipher, time-worn,
Long, sweet verse incomplete;
But anon, a full cadence, of love born,
All on fire, to the heart's lyre set,
Beaten forth of it, strong and complete.

"The garden of the lilies,"
This written above,
"The garden of the lilies who are the brides of Christ."
And then a list
Of names, fair flowers and jewels of His; tryste
In the spirit and wonderful whispers of love.

"All night, all night, O Love, the night winds sighed across the sea,
The fresh tide seeks the shore,
Fresh with the breath of Thee.

"All night Thy lilies sighed across the waste their fragrance,
Kissed the white sea for Thee, seeking Thee.
Where didst Thou hide?

"The night flies, Love, O Love, and the young light,
Thy heralder, thrills the cold air,
Tremulously strikes to the heart of Thy bride.

"O garden of Thy lilies,
Steep from the sea to the hill-top,
Steeped in the red rose of Thee.

Nigher, O Love, to greet Thee new buds break into fire,
New love that grew
Through the dark hour,
From seed to flower.

"See the starred orange tree,
Where the full light pours,
White-starred, gold-planeted,
White with her purity,
Gold-hearted fidelity,
All fragrant amorously,
Fire-purified, sevenfold furnace tried,
Gold heart of Thy bride.

"The day is full, O Love, and the hushed sea
Murmurs of Thee.
The air all aglow,
Flushed to the overflow,
Drunken with Deity;
Drink Thy love, Love, back to Thyself,
Light, Thine own light;
Lord, lest the wanton night,
Finding one delight
Left, of one should defraud Thee.

"The streamlet leaps, O Love, from steep to steep,
Truth sprung from Thee;
Its life-full runnels creep
Amongst the roots of fig and vine,
Swell through the largening fruits
Where lemons incline
Their delicate pale oval against yon red-rock walls,
Trellised with roses, saffron and crimson and white,
Shaded with shape
Of flowers in clusters,
Purpled with pomegranate and grape,
Swathed in pink tendrils,
Bathed in Thy light,
Bright and set towards Thee,
Whom the water calls Love as it falls,
Talks of Thee,
Through Thy garden from the height to the sea.

"Take Thou Thy lily, O Lord,
In those pure hands of Thine,
And worship her sweetness stored.

"The hot day wears, O Love, we pine;
Hot hours are years athirst.
The runnels are Thine, O Love, and we
And the rich life divine --
We are athirst for Thee.

"Nearer, O Love, even manifest,
Cleave Heaven;
Voice of the wide air in the secret ear,
Near -- art Thou near?
Flutter of the Dove within;
Is it Thou, Love? art Thou here?

"The sweet day wanes, O Love, we yearn for Thy embrace;
Searching all space in pain for Thee,
For Thy loved sorrow-stricken face.

"O Love and the heat wanes,
And must night be again?
We trust in Thee.

"Love, heat, light. List --
On the darkening amethyst
The feet of Christ."


What! for Him, Mary,
All your pity, all your worship, all your love!
So fallen out of pity's height
To the slave's ignominy,
Base, with adoring face
Turned heavenwards to the smiter,
From crushed humanity to might,
In extravagant blasphemy of worship!
Calling that love that made for its glory all,
Angel and devil lives!
Calling that love that craves for itself whilst it gives!
Calling that God -- phantasm that a weary brain,
Surfeited with th' inexhaustible life pain,
Flings upon nothingness,
Drawn out of its best or its worst
Verily I know not!
To cling to, or cringe to, or what --
But thrice accurst let every lie be,
If it torture, or comfort us equally.
You're athirst? Is humanity?
So you try, has it not ever tried,
Filling the great void with lies;
Ignorant, so very wise
In the darkness, naked, blind,
Piling up for a covering amidst the emptiness,
Battlements that are naught.
Mary, not any height
Of passion for that which you call Him and Infinite,
Nor interchange of love, if it were possible even,
Between that and the soul --
Seems to me great, sublime, beside
The story of how one atheist died.
Listen, in the pitiless time
When you swooned with love,
When the blood of men cried
From the ground to the wide reach of being,
If haply there might be found
One pitiful to bless, not to save --
Out of the hunted brood
Driven to the slaughter, e'en in the battle's stay,
Three by an open grave stood
Together upon a day.
Who maketh His sun to shine, verily
Upon the evil and the good doth He?
In the delicious wood,
Spring-blossoming that day --
Maketh His sun to shine
Through delicate atmosphere,
To rise and shine and smile upon the day of death,
Warm with May's breath,
Sweet with new life in the bud --
Sweet day, dear life!
Listen; they stood
One with eyes blinded, shrinking with natural fear,
Two with clear outlook on their murderers.
And of these two, one calling on God
Looked Heavenward as he fell;
The fearful gave no sign, but fell
As the tree falls or flower cut down,
Or beast before the knife,
Yielding his life
A martyr to men's uses helplessly.
And one, neither with faith, nor fear,
Nor hope, nor penitence fell.
Did I say faithless? O, but he had a creed
Most precious to him, and flung it forth defiantly,
"Liberty" the last word on his lip,
Purer than any worship
Chanted round blood-stained altars of the city,
Even though he too was pitiless,
Made pitiless by pity.
Think of him, Mary, who fell thus --
Nay, is it possible for us,
You and me, Mary,
Inheritors of that fair lie,
Taught to us also through gentle infancy,
Of the inextinguishable life in us,
(Sweet words delirious, delicious cheat,)
Saying "death," to reach even the verge of this intense thought,
That life for ever changing thro' multitudinous form
Of earth, worm of earth up to highest developed man,
Is and is and is -- whilst I, this
That is conscious here now, thinks and feels,
Shall cease utterly.
Mary, could you or I,
Knowing this through and through without doubt, dread
It not, face the nothingness, shed
Every drop of life, O beloved life!
Not for the love of One
Supreme, out of whose infinity
Life cannot escape although merged,
But for the unknown,
To us th' indifferent ceaseless Time,
Dropping her children off one by one,
Letting them lie by the roadside dead,
For this monster Humanity.
Do they die fiercely who die for this?
Does that surprise you?
The absolute sacrifice, --
Loveless, passionless; does it scare you,
The last light of those eyes that glare
Back what they see? -- we should call it despair.
Let be, there may be tenderer acts and sweeter
Many, but any sacrifice completer?

But what is this -- this Humanity which they worship,
Do they not say worship?
Casting aside at last utterly
Every puerility of the past,
Child's play, hopes of the spring-time of the earth,
Joys and tears April mixed,
Which in his reason's dawn,
Man from the dimmer being drawn, newly drawn,
Evolved in the birthtime of years,
Fears also out of his helplessness,
Compassed with pain, --
Horror, worship, Heaven, Hell,
God, th' illimitable hope,
The unfathomable dread,
Passion, turmoil, seething of the growing forming race,
Good up to better,
And stiffening of limbs in the fetters
Self-forged, as the limbs grew;
And now, what new is there out of the old?
Coldly from the twilight rises the new day.
Are they all dead, devils, gods?
Lo! there is naught either to live or to die,
Hope or dread. Height, depth, vanished alike --
God, horror; beauty,
Th' indefinable, inextinguishable soul.
Strike at the monstrous growths, light coldly stealing
Over the level plain, this, dreary, real, true, this revealing,
Free from the poisonous night vapours.
Were they dreams then,
Dreams only of our infancy,
Marvellous sweetnesses, nightmares also,
Those we deemed pulses of spring-time and blossoming,
True flowers from life's root
Fruit bearing, like flowers, like fruit?
Spring-time, infancy, dreaming --
Dreams even scarcely,
For does not Humanity
Now, first to-day, in this ripe time
Open her mild eyes complete
Out of the womb of Being?
(Unborn in the beautiful ages of lies.)
Is the night past,
Chaos ordered at last,
And this, this life, is't a poor thing,
That we thirst for some other, above us, beyond,
Some cheat promise,
Lisping for ever half utterances? Hist!
Let such lie by the roadside dead.
Listen to the new worship.

There was a word, a name,
Dreaded, adored, trusted, propitiated,
Now as a multitude, now One,
Satiated alike with blood.
A name, -- what has it done?
Who can define it, test it, try its worth?
Well, there was chaos and night,
And travail in our great mother the earth;
Now, order and light.

Humanity -- see
The little rivulet out of the hill,
Thin mist wreaths of spray
Out away there where the falls fret the chasm,
Broad way of the waters,
To the still, pure blue lake holding Heaven.
Humanity, lo! the night riven,
A glow, a light gentle pervading,
A warmth spread,
A life-thrill and dead atoms unite;
Through the ages this grows,
This conscious Humanity.
Hush! the awake heart, the pulse,
To the outmost, remotest, life-blood's rush,
From unit to unit the subtle tie,
See it, feel it, die individuality.

Humanity built up in the obscure,
One, awake to-day perfect, pure,
A self all-comprehending. I -- what am I?
A link, a cause, a sequence, a transition,
See how I fall off from myself, -- I, --
A mystery? only the common sound
Of a note struck that must sound
At the striking. From known to known,
Out of the near past from the remote,
Flower of the seed sown,
That which must be.
I, -- from the unseen to the unseen?
No, just a vision clearer,
Microscopic, looking nearer,
Open the taught eyes and see
Growth multitudinous, endless,
Calculable, sure, O man! at last wise.
Beautiful, pure from the pure,
Baneful, base, as unfailingly
From its source! Do they lie
Any longer shrouded? what mystery,
As the course of time runs, now we know
That from such and such seeds such flowers must grow;
Units poor, plain, building up the determinable All,
Threads of new moss overspreading the massive wall,
Indestructible small links.
Behold the giant bound;
Tenderly though, Being great, privileged on the common ground
To live, ever progressive,
Never to reach the shore
Of a soundless deep; soar
Into dizziness where any Unknowable may be,
Strain at strong doom or desire again,
Not again verily.

So what gain, O, for thee, Humanity,
Torn by the cruel birth-pangs,
Born into a gentle morning?
Look around thee, breathe the quiet air!
Is not the nightmare dead, despair?
Is not the pit closed? awake,
Shake the shadows off!
Beneath thee, what is this?
Time, such as we know it, such as this that is.
Beyond thee, Time, even as thou shalt fashion it.
Thou, thou, at thy holy feet we bow;
Thee adore, whom each little vessel feeds,
Each in his small place thou, not thou --
Absorbing, all adorable,
Whom we evolve, even as we adore,
Thy good, thy glory, thy progression our heaven.
Perish all needs of every hungering one,
Whose filling fills thee not, slakes not thy thirst.
No waste shall be henceforth of years,
Labour, thought, pain, strength, tears;
Perish each feebleness of individuality
For thy sake, mighty one, man's only deity.
Man's even to make as he would have thee be;
Man has no help but man, nor enemy.
Is the pit closed -- the veiled mystery unveiled?
Or lingers there still
A something of source and will
Unsearchable that escapes us,
Some truth unserviceable? In its cold height
Such unassailed we can pass by,
Pledged to the new culte loyally.

Death -- what is this, to die?
Spring follows spring;
We do not weep at memory
Of last April's blossoming;
Sleep succeeds sleep, new rays
Awake the hills, days crowd on days.
Lives upon lives lie countless,
Death-heap of Time, this that we cover awhile,
Smile over with life, until we die,
We too lie slain and the years forget us.
Yet there's a memory, a dim
Singing amongst the spheres of such or such an one,
Who wrought some unending gain.
Fame -- man's immortality,
Delicate bloom on the horizon,
Perfume from the sweet past,
Blown on by the kind blast
To the unsown fields --
Shall it too perish at last
In the new life life yields?
Yea, let each die;
It boots not, so the times grow,
Fatten and multiply and draw strong nourishment
From death, feed on the lives spent;
Each one complete through bud and flower and fruit,
And death as sweet as life,
Each upon each successive;
Unerring, progressive way
Time treads upon, strength and decay.
O World increase, increase Humanity,
Until nights cease and only days be.
Will nights decrease? Pity be praise?
Love hope fulfil? Peace, peace;
We cannot see -- we die.
We cannot know if love obtain
And life, as the ages grow,
Or pain or endless pain,
Although the pit be closed we know --
We cannot know.

Death -- What is this, to die?
For me, what is it?
Have I come near thee,
Death, near unto knowing thee?
Though I can see thee almost,
Shadow of my life, feel thy companionhood,
Freeze at this chill of the blood,
As it creeps from th' extreme to the core?
Death -- friend? enemy?
Victor at least certainly;
Come and talk with me, death, familiarly.
Thou art -- the end
Of struggle and pain and hope, thou art a friend
Then, death, thou bringest peace; the end --
The end of joy and quiet and rest;
My end that feel all these.
How shall peace hold me if I feel not peace?
Death, what is this, to cease?
Let me see truly and understand;
Kiss me beforehand, death.
Yes; there's the blank before me,
Neither despair, nor bliss.
No lie at least to wither in mockery;
Only thyself, great death, thy majesty --

I try to understand;
Let my hand lie obediently in thy hand.
I -- what am I?
The least, O less than nothingness; let me die.

And thou too, beloved, if the sleep
Fall on thee first, and I must weep;
Dead I shall know thee, lost and dissolved and naught,
Treasures of heart and brain
Rotted, up through decay
Absorbed, perchance, and purified for some new form of clay,
Fresh personality
To be loved again and lost;
But of thee naught, of thine own self --
Alone, I shall weep for thee, Love, alone,
Forlorn because thou art not.
What! shall I love with strong love,
Mourn with long mourning,
Dust to the dust returned?
Are the dead loved?
O, can the dead be mourned?
Alas! when love must lie with thee beneath the grass!
But what's love worth,
Earth-born, food of death?
Once called th' Immortal,
God of the old faith.

Come, steely calm, and hold us,
Nothing obtains but death.
Love dies, and grief,
And joy, and peace, and fond alarm with these,
And pains are brief.
One wakens at sunrise,
With eyes aglow, who wearies,
Lies at mellow sunset low,
With hard set eyes,
Dull, unregretful eyes.
Life's but a breath
We draw 'twixt death and death;
Still on untiring wing,
Through ceaseless change of good and ill
It flies -- and what remains --
O'er each who reigns?
Death is the king.

Is anything worth love? --
The short love even of this fading day?
Is the world less and less
As each lessens? How shall we say?
That worthlessnesses in the aggregate
Grow great, mass into worthiness;
Is it so? Is aught worth
Loving on all this weary earth,
Humanity, Deity that we dream of,
Art but a lava stream,
Out of death's jaws hardening?
Soulless Immensity,
What shall we render thee?
Service for increase of bodily development,
Thought and knowledge subservient,
Each will obedient
To thy imperious cry,
Suffering, perishing Humanity;
So pain and sorrow,
Such as we can measure and know,
Shall decrease; men at last content
With material nourishment,
The while pomp and splendour shall throw
An outward poetry and glow
About the times, saving from sordidness.

What! is this less
Then thou dost, Christianity,
Wedded, in these days at least, to gold?
(Property and faith, the age's respectabilities)
Than thou dost, through thy votaries,
Thou lie on the lips that mutter thy formularies.
Userer, priest, do the nameless die
In their dens, rot, and waste, and decay?
And ye, -- when they rise,
(O blind, leading blind to what precipice!)
When they rise, mad with hate
And desperate to sweep away
Society's bounds, heaped up to stay
Th' irresistible sea -- ye cry
For blood, life for gold, for follies, butcheries;
Fly each at his brother's throat,
Gloat over the slaughter, setting afloat
Law, order and faith again.
For thy share millionnaire,
A Bourse buoyant, all paths free for gain,
The world for thee, to absorb and to dispense,
With answer ready to any one who saith
"Where is thy brother Cain?"
In defence of sacred property he was slain,
That is in Thy defence, Lord, thine and mine.
Are ye more pitiful then,
Faith and free-will thus
Than we are, who hold
On to life but as links of th' unending gold?
We who must
Count the down-trodden dust
A holy thing, is it not all of us?
We who for large Humanity,
Perchance unskilfully,
May crush a heart's sigh,
Some feeblest individuality -- blind --
But for the great All we shall have sinned;
We, who this common ground
Of earth, of flesh, are fain to touch tenderly,
Feeling our frailty compass us around,
Who share the day-fly's immortality,
What shall we scorn?
See what mood's born in me,
Even as I sighed in terriblest sadness!
Has not the heart replied?
Lo! here is gain,
To have found a brotherhood
Though in the grave; gentle, and meek, and good,
To a tender calm subdued,
Sweet calm, death calm --
I know now what is good.


Sister, I bore your sorrow and your sin
Within my heart, a very death at the core
Of my life, whole nights upon the sacred floor
In penance and prayer before Him,
And had no sign, nor heard
His dear knock at my heart's door,
Nor flutter of dove-wings stirred
The gloom; then did hope pine,
A weary time, a weary waiting time.
"Is Thy love quenched, O crucified,
In this slime of hell;
Has the knell sounded?" I cried,
"And the enemy taken his prey
On this side the grave.
Must she pass away
Into the dark?" I sickened --
"To the unfathomed deep and there be none to save,
Lord!" and for answer a knell
That sounded in my ears
Full and strong,
Growing dull to the quickened sense,
And duller to an unbearable silence.

Staggering I rose in the desolation, turned
My back upon His altar, spurned
The mercy seat and with swift feet
Fled from the presence of the Lord,
Scorched by the icy cold,
Stunned by the silence,
Blinded by the gloom,
Tortured upon His threshold stood
Face to face with the night-flood;
When suddenly upon that sea
One coming unto me
I knew not; Christine, I will tell it thee,
That vision of the night I had,
Brightness that smote upon my wearied brain,
Albeit I may not say
If 'twere an angel of light,
Or an evil one clad in white,
Brought it to me. Outside
His Church, they say, one may not reach the Crucified;
Yet I will tell it thee,
Some influence impels me,
So it may gladden thee as me,
And, Mother, forgive me if my lips unsealed
Speak aught thy wisdom had kept unrevealed.

There was a chill light round Him,
Now, it seems
As I had felt Him first in a thrill,
And that sight second became aware
Of the pale gleam that awoke in my despair.
As the sudden change of a dream,
He grew unstrange whom I knew not,
Broke upon my innermost,
And I, yet in the flesh,
Was born into the ghost world.
"Thou that wert glorified
To the side of th' Eternal,
Thou art not here," I sighed inwardly,
"Not in Thy man's form visibly,
Though in the mystery we apprehend Thee;"
Christine, not a voice answered audibly,
But as it were every sense and nerve in me,
"Can He dwell apart, Emmanuel?"
Then suddenly
A dim multitudinous murmur and rush of the sea
On a long shore far away, gathering close, closing around me,
In music, in rapture; the depth of the night
Light about Him;
Crowds upon crowds countless, the seraphim.

Not in the mysteries only
Or story long told, fetished, or forgotten,
Of God in the flesh born, He lives;
Were the eyes holden? He lives,
Rives thy fetters -- O creation travailing arise.
Man into the spirit born,
Man in the flesh shall behold Him.
Spirit into flesh born,
Flesh into spirit redeemed --
This that was dreamed of, is,
Every eye, face to face.
Where's Thy similitude to greet Thee?
Faith but a buried store,
Love waning evermore,
'Twixt rich and poor, a river fed full with hate-streams.
Christ, not in dreams far spent
Art Thou, but here, ready to break visible on our bewilderment;
Real king midst living men, making love actual.
Above the flood brood, holy Dove,
Divide, reveal, bring forth new love,
Breath of the Spirit, new light, new faith, new love.
Did we ween we had heard Thee,
Word from all eternity?
Do we begin
To catch the glimmer of Thy glory entering in?
Lift up, ye everlasting gates, creation,
God and man one.

Ever about me
Multitudinous murmur and melody,
Clouds of faces of angels around Him the Loved One, the Lovely;
But -- a swooping shadow across my sight,
A cry striking along the melody,
And the vision fell,
And the night bound me;
Christine, and I cannot tell
Who brought that vision to me;
Nor if the cry or the harmony
Were wrought out of heaven or hell;
Nor part the sleep from the waking:
But a bubbling spring in my heart is
From a well deep below which I know not,
A song in my heart that I sing.

And yet one word that I know, dear,
Here in my little cell,
Down from the height come to me, dear,
Bending low, for one night-watch with me here alone
Where my small life drops its hours
One by one, year by year, in penitence.
Could I but make you see,
Catch by some spirit sense,
As I see on the wall, there pourtrayed
Him -- were the colour laid
By mortal hands, glory and shadow,
Impressing Him to the innermost; the royal brow
Weighted with anguish; th' absorbing eyes
Hungry with selfless love.
Lo! th' amazing love. Lo! the whole sacrifice,
Out-cast of earth and heaven.
Lo! the one spotless life to earth given,
Th' innocent life spilt in the fire;
Heart, with guilt broken,
Jesus the forsaken.
Hear the cry, O humanity,
Th' unfathomable cry,
One with Him King of suffering.

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net