Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GOD PRAYS, by ANGELA MORGAN

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GOD PRAYS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Last night I tossed and could not sleep
Last Line: I know at last 'tis god who prays.
Subject(s): Peace; Religion; Theology

Last night I tossed and could not sleep.
When sodden heavens weep and weep,
As they have wept for many a day,
One lies awake to fear and pray.
One thinks of bodies blown like hail
Across the sky where angels quail;
One's sickened pulses leap and hark
To hear the Horror in the dark.

"What is Thy will for the people, God?
Thy will for the people, tell it me!
For War is swallowing up the sod
And still no help from Thee.
Thou who art mighty hast forgot;
And art Thou God or art thou not?
When wilt Thou come to save the earth
Where death has conquered birth?"

And the Lord God whispered and said to me,
"These things shall be, these things shall be,
Nor help shall come from the scarlet skies
Till the people rise!
Till the people rise, my arm is weak;
I cannot speak till the people speak;
When men are dumb, my voice is dumb—
I cannot come till my people come."

And the Lord God's presence was white, so white,
Like a pillar of stars against the night.
"Millions on millions pray to me
Yet hearken not to hear me pray;
Nor comes there any to set me free
Of all who plead from night to day.
So God is mute and Heaven is still
While the nations kill."

"Thy people have travailed much!" I cried
"I travail even as they," God sighed.
"I have cradled their woe since the stars were young
My infant planets were scarcely hung
When I dreamed the dream of my liberty
And planned a people to utter me.
I am the pang of their discontent,
The passion of their long lament—
I am the Purpose of their pain,
I writhe beneath their chain."

"But Thou art mighty and need'st no aid.
Can God the Infinite be afraid?"

"They too are God yet know it not.
'Tis they not I who have forgot.
And War is drinking the living sod,"
Said God.

"Thy people are fettered by iron laws
And each must follow a country's cause,
And all are sworn to avenge their dead—
How may the people rise?" I said.

And then—God's face! It was white, so white,
With the grief that sorroweth day and night.
"Think ye I planted my Image there
That men should trample it to despair?
Who fears the throe that rebellion brings
Hath bartered God for the will of kings."

"Help them to stand, O Christ!" I prayed.
"Thy people are feeble and sore afraid."

"My people are strong," God whispered me,
"Broad as the land, great as the sea;
They will tower tall as the tallest skies,
Up to the level of my eyes
When they dare to rise.
Yea, all my people, everywhere!
Not in one land of black despair
But over the flaming earth and sea
Wherever wrong and oppression be
The shout of my people must come to me.
Not till their spirit break the curse
May I claim my own in the universe;
And this the reason of war and blood—
That men may come to their angelhood.
If the people rise, if the people rise
I will answer them from the swarming skies
Where Herculean hosts of might
Shall spring to splendor over night.
Blazing systems of sun and star
Are not so great as my people are,
Nor chanting angels so sweet to hear
As the Voice of the nations, freed from fear.
They are my mouth, my breath, my soul!
I wait their summons to make me whole."

All night I toss and I cannot sleep;
When shattered heavens weep and weep
As they have wept for many days
I know at last 'tis God who prays.

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