Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RHEIMS, by ALFRED E. LONGWEIL

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RHEIMS, by            
First Line: Under the thresh of an iron rain
Last Line: Oh, the cardinal prays!
Subject(s): Clergy; God; Prayer; Religion; Priests; Rabbis; Ministers; Bishops; Theology

UNDER the thresh of an iron rain,
Under the flood of a flame that sears
The graven beauty of years on years
And shrivels the very tears of pain,
The Cardinal prays.
Over the riven stone
That God had hallowed His own
Rises his prayer.

Ringed by a quiver of pit-born light
That whips and shudders over his head
And grins on the pitiful lips of the dead
And drowns his heart in a deeper night,
The Cardinal prays.
Up to the lurching sky
Where the phantom armies fly
Rises his prayer.

Over the limbs of a shattered cross,
Over an altar death-defiled,
Over a shattered Mother and Child,
Over a Love that was blood and loss,
The Cardinal prays.
Over a whispered "God!"
Wrenched from the very sod
Rises his prayer.
Oh, the Cardinal prays!

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