Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DOCTOR EMILY, by ELIZA KEARY



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DOCTOR EMILY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Her room, bare of all beauty
Last Line: "I am coming, little one."
Subject(s): Children; Physicians; Childhood; Doctors


HER room, bare of all beauty.
She in the gloom of the dull hour,
Midwinter's afternoon,
By the fire, grey and low,
Left of her hours ago,
Now with a little glow
And new stir in it just made by her,
Weary, come in alone,
Musing, "Did I ever wince
At sorrow, or pain of my profession, the parish doctor,
Chosen eleven years since,
As now? Though there has been torture enough, I trow,
Only a word or two just heard
Have set my heart throbbing so --
Can it rest again?
Matched with this, it was scarcely pain
That I felt by the dying man yonder,
All agony of sympathy,
As I watched the cruel death-blow
Dealt, long gathered up of want, sin, and woe.

It was thus I heard -- walking
From the blank house with friends, talking
Of this sorrow and of some
Hope, might we cherish, in the long years to come,
When sin and pain,
Bound with health's chain,
Not even one should lie
Shut up in misery:
I still continually
Shadowed by his last sigh,
As we spoke;
One, silent till then alone, broke
On our converse: "Friend,
You are over sad, we must embrace the whole, the end
Each serves, must serve, purpose
Better or worse. Are not all
Fitted in due places they cannot fall
From, glory or shame,
Fulness of pleasure, inextinguishable flame?
All cannot win,
Or the same goal reach,
Since some by virtue, some by vice teach,
But why quail at each miserable wail,
And yet forget the praise
That from endless days
Swells through the universe?
Let the curse lie
In its own place -- needed, verily.

Whereat we,
Chilled through our very pain as to death,
"Not that He wills it," cry,
"Say 'tis not that you mean."
And gasped for his reply,
This that came pityingly, "He!
Him I know not, but the things that be."

Chilled as to death whilst here alone
I ponder, ah! and he is not one
Saying thus we know, nor are they few;
And thus we know, nor are they few;
And these are they we love,
Towards whom our hopes move,
With whom we would prove
That we can friendly seek, and sympathize, and do;
These, who, whate'er betide,
We find, all tested, still on the generous side,
Who reach strong hands
Of help and kindliness to brother lands,
Would shatter lawless might,
Who claim us, all, for right in the name of right.
What small cloud in their fair, deep sky do we see?
"Him, one I know not, but the things that be."
One in the hidden, in the finite
Lost, loss infinite.
Seek we the True that we dare,
They say, we dare face, be it foul, be it fair?
It, not He, then. Has it a heart, this, the True?
Faithless and hopeless; must we be loveless too?

But 'tis the age of woman, they say,
All say it, of her full message,
Presage of good, do we deem? Ah! blind,
Weak, awe-stricken, what do we strive
For? All that we are to give.
Are we a message to this scorching age
Whilst our tears rain upon it?
Want and woe and sin,
Searching that cannot find --
Would that we could win
Some influence from the skies!
Was not Christ born of Mary for mankind?
Alas! our eyes are dim,
Pining for Him.
Lo! we are broken with fears
Lest One belied,
Love should be crucified
Through countless years.

Must they not see that seek
Then? Can there be aught
Empty of Him, forgot,
Or does His promise break?
Some approach there must be.
And we, shall we
Who, fearfully, think
That we feel Him, tremble on His brink,
Have such fear of a deep
As to be prisoned in pain lest loved feet graze the steep?
Can light quench light?
May not the near the far?
Obscure our vision of it --
Nay, He is far and near,
Yea, who is more than light.
Can He fail? we will not fear.

Seek on, then, spurn
Giants of thought, old thoughts, turn
Still to new days. Hew
The immense tree with the strong axes two,
Even as visions of old
Tell how the giants hewed:
And lo! it fell, and lo! it stood, and lo! it grew.
Watching the while, we
Smile of sorrow and hope,
Saying God speed,
As loved faiths stricken from life
Thicken around us, darkening our skies,
Praying God speed,
Till the new dawn arise.
Yet we are home-birds, we must sing from home, place
Of sure refuge for our faltering race,
Low from the yearning of the Father's breast,
Wooing you hitherward,
Where love is Lord.
Children, come home, we seek His face;
When will ye come?
Home -- not for rest --
Measureless labour, 'tensest sacrifice,
Price of the very life --"

So, musing this wise
With tears and sighs,
Into the night, till night had set,
Watching her, musing yet,
When "Doctor" a voice cries
From without, a weak child's voice, "come quick,
Come to us, sister. Mother fell sick
At noon, and she dies in the dawn alone."
She, "Ready, I am ready,
I am coming, little one."







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