Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SONG OF ISRAFEL, by HARRY HIBBARD KEMP



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THE SONG OF ISRAFEL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The poet-seraph israfel, chief player on / the lyre
Last Line: The song that soars, the song that leaps, beyond the written word!
Subject(s): Religion; Singing & Singers; Theology; Songs


THE poet-seraph Israfel, chief player on the lyre—
I dreamed he came to me last night with words like leaping fire,—
Then Time became Eternity, then grew my vision whole:
I took His hand; He led me forth to God, a naked soul!
I saw a boundless universe where worlds of souls do find
Freedom to bend and guide their growth as after God's own mind;
The frightful night flashed full of suns as thick as sparks, when fall
A city's roofs in, beam on beam, wall upon crashing wall—
Around them little jeweled worlds like emerald insects drove
Which spread and close in phalanx small within some shady grove.
From heaven's awful parapets I viewed the mighty scene
While rose the Seraph's silver voice majestic and serene:
"God's eye, alone, can count these suns (He knows nor space nor bound),
And tributary worlds, alive with beings, gird them round;
And thro' all space, from Deep to Deep, above the blinded throng,
Great poets coin their labored thought into golden song,
And sculptors chip the stubborn stone, and artists dream, and dare
To give the Inner Vision birth with colors rich and rare;
Musicians woo the Infinite half into finite clasp,
As children reach for butterflies just poised beyond the grasp. ...
Five peep-holes for the soul has earth ... And other worlds have more,
Or not as many ... Mayhap two, or three ... Or half a score. ...
Some stellar eyes more colors see where larger spectrums thrill;
On some world's Music's silver sighs a wider gamut fill:
And thus unnumbered worlds build souls, a million earths are trod
By other souls, which, in their way, have their dim dreams of God.
Nor reach ye aught beyond their grasp: your eyes, too, vague and dim,
Clutch at the rainbow of his face and hanker after Him.
Strange bodies souls inhabit, sure, round Algol's sullen suns
Where thro' tremendous-archèd skies the lightning skips and runs,
And Alpha of the Centaur thralls what worlds bizarre and fair?
And who can limn the hidden life that circles round Altair?
And earths have perished on which God has builded up the soul,
While more worlds, thro' eternity, must seek the selfsame goal!"

No more I heard! The crystal globe of speech unuttered broke,
The vision faded from my dream, and in the night I woke;
Yet not in vain the Wonder came—God wot, my soul had heard
The Song that soars, the Song that leaps, beyond the Written Word!





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