Santa Ana Winds
Here in sothern california there is a weather condition known as the
Santa ana winds.
Fire wind oh desert wind
She was born in a desert breeze
And wind her way
Through canyon way
From the desert to the silvery sea
In every direction
See the perfection
And see the san gabriel mountain scene
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
Fill my sails
Oh desert wind
And hold the waves high for me
Then I will come
And test my skill
Where the santa ana winds blow free
In waves of elation
My part of creation
Becoming one with the boundless sea
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
I am the wind
Oh desert wind
On my pilgrimage to the sea
I will prevail
I will not fail
To bring life into humanity
My song is creation
(? ? ? )the nation
Whispering the wisdom and its purity
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
Santa ana winds keep blowin across my eyes
Santa ana winds...
- quotes about Santa Claus
- quotes about wind
- quotes about desert
- quotes about eyes
- quotes about California
- quotes about perfection
- quotes about independence
- quotes about weather
- quotes about nations
When I see your smile, It sure brightens up my day, My eyes fill with happiness, And all clouds go away..
You have the touch, That goes deep into my soul, U make my feet float off the ground, As my world spins out of control..
You have your special way, That opens up my heart, Breaks down my defenses, As u have right from the start!
Good from tonic
Good from tonic
No one can expect to remain on the top
But if one wants then no one can stop
But it is natural law and rule
One can learn it when see the full moon
Moon looses position day by day
From light to dark gradually each day
To be totally sleeping to another side
When you can see only horizontal wide
Sun appears from east with mild rays
Bring early life to all for the full day
No one waits for the second to miss
As everybody bows head and take it as bliss
Each one of us is aware of sun's importance
We can witness next day only by chance
If we happen to find next day morning
Pray almighty to take you safely in the evening
See the sun in its full size
Either in full with rise
Or in evening when it is all set
To meet its decline with fate
I see red lights on wane
As tail blaze from landing plane
With one aim to reach in its respective place
Where mankind breathes to withdraw from the race
We can see and witness evening scene
Where sun is with naked eyes quietly seen
It is gift from departing energy ball
We withdraw and retire with cease call
Try and find out the reason
Many may offer but vary from person to person
It is artist's eye that finds out real magic
Full day's energy loss can be made good from tonic
Sea, Mountain And I
I went to sea many times..
watched the waves, the
virgin islands, I loved
to walk on the sand,
of the far-stretched beach....
I swam and bathed with wilderness,
but, I couldn't love any sea.
I see everyday, the mountain range,
as if they stand in meditation,
with Pines, Oaks, and Birches
tufted with their loving hearts!
The curtain of mists opens up,
with the first appearance of,
the mild ray of the Sun...
The tops of the trees smile
and greet the world and
bow to the creator for all
for them He has done.
The dew-wrapped wet leaves,
stuck to my moving toes...
The winding paths invite
me to go, to go...
Down, down I see, the deep
ditch, with sudden touch of
day light, and darkness
of the unknown mystery,
tells me the horrible truth,
death is nothing but a simple
slip from known to very unknown.
Still, I am in half love
with life and death,
so I fall in deep love with this.
Mountain works in me like
daily fever and doesn't
let me go!
- quotes about swimming
- quotes about love
- quotes about islands
- quotes about mountains
- quotes about beach
- quotes about work
- quotes about death
- quotes about walking
The World’s Convention Of The Friends Of Emancipation, Held In London In 1840
YES, let them gather! Summon forth
The pledged philanthropy of Earth.
From every land, whose hills have heard
The bugle blast of Freedom waking;
Or shrieking of her symbol-bird
From out his cloudy eyrie breaking:
Where Justice hath one worshipper,
Or truth one altar built to her;
Where'er a human eye is weeping
O'er wrongs which Earth's sad children know;
Where'er a single heart is keeping
Its prayerful watch with human woe:
Thence let them come, and greet each other,
And know in each a friend and brother!
Yes, let them come! from each green vale
Where England's old baronial halls
Still bear upon their storied walls
The grim crusader's rusted mail,
Battered by Paynim spear and brand
On Malta's rock or Syria's sand.!
And mouldering pennon-staves once set
Within the soil of Palestine,
By Jordan and Gennesaret;
Or, borne with England's battle line,
O'er Acre's shattered turrets stooping,
Or, midst the camp their banners drooping,
With dews from hallowed Hermon wet,
A holier summons now is given
Than that gray herinit's voice of old,
Which unto all the winds of heaven
The banners of the Cross unrolled!
Not for the long-deserted shrine;
Not for the dull unconscious sod,
Which tells not by one lingering sign
That there the hope of Israel trod;
But for that truth, for which alone
In pilgrim eyes are sanctified
The garden moss, the mountain stone,
Whereon His holy sandals pressed, —
The fountain which His lip hath blessed, —
Whate'er hath touched His garment's hem
At Bethany or Bethlehem,
Or Jordan's river-side.
For Freedom in the name of Him
Who came to raise Earth's drooping poor,
To break the chain from every limb,
The bolt from every prison door!
For these, o'er all the earth hath passed
An ever-deepening trumpet blast,
As if an angel's breath had lent
Its vigor to the instrument.
And Wales, from Snowrich's mountain wall,
Shall startle at that thrilling call,
As if she heard her bards again;
And Erin's 'harp on Tara's wall'
Give out its ancient strain,
Mirthful and sweet, yet sad withal, —
The melody which Erin loves,
When o'er that harp, 'mid bursts of gladness
And slogan cries and lyke-wake sadness,
The hand of her O'Connell moves!
Scotland, from lake and tarn and rill,
And mountain hold, and heathery hill,
Shall catch and echo back the note,
As if she heard upon the air
Once more her Cameronian's prayer.
And song of Freedom float.
And cheering echoes shall reply
From each remote dependency,
Where Britain's mighty sway is known,
In tropic sea or frozen zone;
Where'er her sunset flag is furling,
Or morning gun-fire's smoke is curling;
From Indian Bengal's groves of palm
And rosy fields and gales of balm,
Where Eastern pomp and power are rolled
Through regal Ava's gates of gold;
And from the lakes and ancient woods
And dim Canadian solitudes,
Whence, sternly from her rocky throne,
Queen of the North, Quebec looks down;
And from those bright and ransomed Isles
Where all unwonted Freedom smiles,
And the dark laborer still retains
The scar of slavery's broken chains!
From the hoar Alps, which sentinel
The gateways of the land of Tell,
Where morning's keen and earliest glance
On Jura's rocky wall is thrown,
And from the olive bowers of France
And vine groves garlanding the Rhone, —
'Friends of the Blacks,' as true and tried
As those who stood by Oge's side,
And heard the Haytien's tale of wrong,
Shall gather at that summons strong;
Broglie, Passy, and he whose song
Breathed over Syria's holy sod,
And in the paths which Jesus trod,
And murmured midst the hills which hem
Crownless and sad Jerusalem,
Hath echoes whereso'er the tone
Of Israel's prophey-lyre is known.
Still let them come; from Quito's walls,
And from the Orinoco's tide,
From Lima's Inca-haunted halls,
From Santa Fe and Yucatan, —
Men who by swart Guerrero's side
Proclaimed the deathless rights of man,
Broke every bond and fetter off,
And hailed in every sable serf
A free and brother Mexican!
Chiefs who across the Andes' chain
Have followed Freedom's flowing pennon,
And seen on Junin's fearful plain,
Glare o'er the broken ranks of Spain
The fire-burst of Bolivar's cannon!
And Hayti, from her mountain land,
Shall send the sons of those who hurled
Defiance from her blazing strand,
The war-gage from her Petition's hand,
Alone against a hostile world.
Nor all unmindful, thou, the while,
Land of the dark and mystic Nile!
Thy Moslem mercy yet may shame
All tyrants of a Christian name,
When in the shade of Gizeh's pile,
Or, where, from Abyssinian hills
El Gerek's upper fountain fills,
Or where from Mountains of the Moon
El Abiad bears his watery boon,
Where'er thy lotus blossoms swim
Within their ancient hallowed waters;
Where'er is heard the Coptic hymn,
Or song of Nubia's sable daughters;
The curse of slavery and the crime,
Thy bequest from remotest time,
At thy dark Mehemet's decree
Forevermore shall pass from thee;
And chains forsake each captive's limb
Of all those tribes, whose hills around
Have echoed back the cymbal sound
And victor horn of Ibrahim.
And thou whose glory and whose crime
To earth's remotest bound and clime,
In mingled tones of awe and scorn,
The echoes of a world have borne,
My country! glorious at thy birth,
A day-star flashing brightly forth,
The herald-sign of Freedom's dawn!
Oh, who could dream that saw thee then,
And watched thy rising from afar,
That vapors from oppression's fen
Would cloud the upward tending star?
Or, that earth's tyrant powers, which heard,
Awe-struck, the shout which hailed thy dawning,
Would rise so soon, prince, peer, and king,
To mock thee with their welcoming,
Like Hades when her thrones were stirred
To greet the down-east Star of Morning!
'Aha! and art thou fallen thus?
Art thou become as one of us?'
Land of my fathers! there will stand,
Amidst that world-assembled band,
Those owning thy maternal claim
Unweakened by thy crime and shame;
The sad reprovers of thy wrong;
The children thou hast spurned so long.
Still with affection's fondest yearning
To their unnatural mother turning.
No traitors they! but tried and leal,
Whose own is but thy general weal,
Still blending with the patriot's zeal
The Christian's love for human kind,
To caste and climate unconfined.
A holy gathering! peaceful all:
No threat of war, no savage call
For vengeance on an erring brother!
But in their stead the godlike plan
To teach the brotherhood of man
To love and reverence one another,
As sharers of a common blood,
The children of a common God!
Yet, even at its lightest word,
Shall Slavery's darkest depths be stirred:
Spain, watching from her Moro's keep
Her slave-ships traversing the deep,
And Rio, in her strength and pride,
Lifting, along her mountain-side,
Her snowy battlements and towers,
Her lemon-groves and tropic bowers,
With bitter hate and sullen fear
Its freedom-giving voice shall hear;
And where my country's flag is flowing,
On breezes from Mount Vernon blowing,
Above the Nation's council halls,
Where Freedom's praise is loud and long,
While close beneath the outward walls
The driver plies his reeking thong;
The hammer of the man-thief falls,
O'er hypocritic cheek and brow
The crimson flush of shame shall glow
And all who for their native land
Are pledging life and heart and hand,
Worn watchers o'er her changing weal,
Who for her tarnished honor feel,
Through cottage door and council-hall
Shall thunder an awakening call.
The pen along its page shall burn
With all intolerable scorn;
An eloquent rebuke shall go
On all the winds that Southward blow;
From priestly lips, now sealed and dumb,
Warning and dread appeal shall come,
Like those which Israel heard from him,
The Prophet of the Cherubim;
Or those which sad Esaias hurled
Against a sin-accursed world!
Its wizard leaves the Press shall fling
Unceasing from its iron wing,
With characters inscribed thereon,
As fearful in the despot's hall
As to the pomp of Babylon
The fire-sign on the palace wall!
And, from her dark iniquities,
Methinks I see my country rise:
Not challenging the nations round
To note her tardy justice done;
Her captives from their chains unbound,
Her prisons opening to the sun:
But tearfully her arms extending
Over the poor and unoffending;
Her regal emblem now no longer
A bird of prey with talons reeking,
Above the dying captive shrieking,
But, spreading out her ample wing,
A broad, impartial covering,
The weaker sheltered by the stronger!
Oh, then to Faith's anointed eyes
The promised token shall be given;
And on a nation's sacrifice,
Atoning for the sin of years,
And wet with penitential tears,
The fire shall fall from Heaven!
Across These Years
Across the Meadow
Across the meadow
Across the sea
Their life is brighter
Their life you should see
Across the meadow
Across the sea
Their leader so sagacious
To there, why don't we flee?
Across the meadow
Across the sea
Life is greener on the other side
Same goes for the village
Across the meadow and across the sea
Close your eyes, and then you will see
She sat alway thro' the long day
Spinning the weary thread away;
And ever said in undertone:
'Come, that I be no more alone.'
From early dawn to set of sun
Working, her task was still undone;
And the long thread seemed to increase
Even while she spun and did not cease.
She heard the gentle turtle-dove
Tell to its mate a tale of love;
She saw the glancing swallows fly,
Ever a social company;
She knew each bird upon its nest
Had cheering songs to bring it rest;
None lived alone save only she;—
The wheel went round more wearily;
She wept and said in undertone:
'Come, that I be no more alone.'
Day followed day, and still she sighed
For love, and was not satisfied;
Until one night, when the moonlight
Turned all the trees to silver white,
She heard, what ne'er she heard before,
A steady hand undo the door.
The nightingale since set of sun
Her throbbing music had not done,
And she had listened silently;
But now the wind had changed, and she
Heard the sweet song no more, but heard
Beside her bed a whispered word:
'Damsel, rise up; be not afraid;
For I am come at last,' it said.
She trembled, tho' the voice was mild;
She trembled like a frightened child;—
Till she looked up, and then she saw
The unknown speaker without awe.
He seemed a fair young man, his eyes
Beaming with serious charities;
His cheek was white but hardly pale;
And a dim glory like a veil
Hovered about his head, and shone
Thro' the whole room till night was gone.
So her fear fled; and then she said,
Leaning upon her quiet bed:
'Now thou art come, I prithee stay,
That I may see thee in the day,
And learn to know thy voice, and hear
It evermore calling me near.'
He answered: 'Rise, and follow me.'
But she looked upwards wonderingly:
'And whither would'st thou go, friend? stay
Until the dawning of the day.'
But he said: 'The wind ceaseth, Maid;
Of chill nor damp be thou afraid.'
She bound her hair up from the floor,
And passed in silence from the door.
So they went forth together, he
Helping her forward tenderly.
The hedges bowed beneath his hand;
Forth from the streams came the dry land
As they passed over; evermore
The pallid moonbeams shone before;
And the wind hushed, and nothing stirred;
Not even a solitary bird,
Scared by their footsteps, fluttered by
Where aspen-trees stood steadily.
As they went on, at length a sound
Came trembling on the air around;
The undistinguishable hum
Of life, voices that go and come
Of busy men, and the child's sweet
High laugh, and noise of trampling feet.
Then he said: 'Wilt thou go and see?'
And she made answer joyfully:
'The noise of life, of human life,
Of dear communion without strife,
Of converse held 'twixt friend and friend;
Is it not here our path shall end?'
He led her on a little way
Until they reached a hillock: 'Stay.'
It was a village in a plain.
High mountains screened it from the rain
And stormy wind; and nigh at hand
A bubbling streamlet flowed, o'er sand
Pebbly and fine, and sent life up
Green succous stalk and flower-cup.
Gradually, day's harbinger,
A chilly wind began to stir.
It seemed a gentle powerless breeze
That scarcely rustled thro' the trees;
And yet it touched the mountain's head
And the paths man might never tread.
But hearken: in the quiet weather
Do all the streams flow down together?—
No, 'tis a sound more terrible
Than tho' a thousand rivers fell.
The everlasting ice and snow
Were loosened then, but not to flow;—
With a loud crash like solid thunder
The avalanche came, burying under
The village; turning life and breath
And rest and joy and plans to death.
'Oh! let us fly, for pity fly;
Let us go hence, friend, thou and I.
There must be many regions yet
Where these things make not desolate.'
He looked upon her seriously;
Then said: 'Arise and follow me.'
The path that lay before them was
Nigh covered over with long grass;
And many slimy things and slow
Trailed on between the roots below.
The moon looked dimmer than before;
And shadowy cloudlets floating o'er
Its face sometimes quite hid its light,
And filled the skies with deeper night.
At last, as they went on, the noise
Was heard of the sea's mighty voice;
And soon the ocean could be seen
In its long restlessness serene.
Upon its breast a vessel rode
That drowsily appeared to nod
As the great billows rose and fell,
And swelled to sink, and sank to swell.
Meanwhile the strong wind had come forth
From the chill regions of the North,
The mighty wind invisible.
And the low waves began to swell;
And the sky darkened overhead;
And the moon once looked forth, then fled
Behind dark clouds; while here and there
The lightning shone out in the air;
And the approaching thunder rolled
With angry pealings manifold.
How many vows were made, and prayers
That in safe times were cold and scarce.
Still all availed not; and at length
The waves arose in all their strength,
And fought against the ship, and filled
The ship. Then were the clouds unsealed,
And the rain hurried forth, and beat
On every side and over it.
Some clung together, and some kept
A long stern silence, and some wept.
Many half-crazed looked on in wonder
As the strong timbers rent asunder;
Friends forgot friends, foes fled to foes;—
And still the water rose and rose.
'Ah woe is me! Whom I have seen
Are now as tho' they had not been.
In the earth there is room for birth,
And there are graves enough in earth;
Why should the cold sea, tempest-torn,
Bury those whom it hath not borne?'
He answered not, and they went on.
The glory of the heavens was gone;
The moon gleamed not nor any star;
Cold winds were rustling near and far,
And from the trees the dry leaves fell
With a sad sound unspeakable.
The air was cold; till from the South
A gust blew hot, like sudden drouth,
Into their faces; and a light
Glowing and red, shone thro' the night.
A mighty city full of flame
And death and sounds without a name.
Amid the black and blinding smoke,
The people, as one man, awoke.
Oh! happy they who yesterday
On the long journey went away;
Whose pallid lips, smiling and chill,
While the flames scorch them smile on still;
Who murmur not; who tremble not
When the bier crackles fiery hot;
Who, dying, said in love's increase:
'Lord, let thy servant part in peace.'
Those in the town could see and hear
A shaded river flowing near;
The broad deep bed could hardly hold
Its plenteous waters calm and cold.
Was flame-wrapped all the city wall,
The city gates were flame-wrapped all.
What was man's strength, what puissance then?
Women were mighty as strong men.
Some knelt in prayer, believing still,
Resigned unto a righteous will,
Bowing beneath the chastening rod,
Lost to the world, but found of God.
Some prayed for friend, for child, for wife;
Some prayed for faith; some prayed for life;
While some, proud even in death, hope gone,
Steadfast and still, stood looking on.
'Death—death—oh! let us fly from death;
Where'er we go it followeth;
All these are dead; and we alone
Remain to weep for what is gone.
What is this thing? thus hurriedly
To pass into eternity;
To leave the earth so full of mirth;
To lose the profit of our birth;
To die and be no more; to cease,
Having numbness that is not peace.
Let us go hence; and, even if thus
Death everywhere must go with us,
Let us not see the change, but see
Those who have been or still shall be.'
He sighed and they went on together;
Beneath their feet did the grass wither;
Across the heaven high overhead
Dark misty clouds floated and fled;
And in their bosom was the thunder,
And angry lightnings flashed out under,
Forked and red and menacing;
Far off the wind was muttering;
It seemed to tell, not understood,
Strange secrets to the listening wood.
Upon its wings it bore the scent
Of blood of a great armament:
Then saw they how on either side
Fields were down-trodden far and wide.
That morning at the break of day
Two nations had gone forth to slay.
As a man soweth so he reaps.
The field was full of bleeding heaps;
Ghastly corpses of men and horses
That met death at a thousand sources;
Cold limbs and putrifying flesh;
Long love-locks clotted to a mesh
That stifled; stiffened mouths beneath
Staring eyes that had looked on death.
But these were dead: these felt no more
The anguish of the wounds they bore.
Behold, they shall not sigh again,
Nor justly fear, nor hope in vain.
What if none wept above them?—is
The sleeper less at rest for this?
Is not the young child's slumber sweet
When no man watcheth over it?
These had deep calm; but all around
There was a deadly smothered sound,
The choking cry of agony
From wounded men who could not die;
Who watched the black wing of the raven
Rise like a cloud 'twixt them and heaven,
And in the distance flying fast
Beheld the eagle come at last.
She knelt down in her agony:
'O Lord, it is enough,' said she:
'My heart's prayer putteth me to shame;
Let me return to whence I came.
Thou for who love's sake didst reprove,
Forgive me for the sake of love.'
I Like The Feel
I like the feel of the new heels on my cowboy boots.
I like the feel of breathing in joy like oxygen,
of moving from one small joy to another
without pomp or pageantry
like the constellation of a black swan
on a midnight mindstream
drifting through the small torches of the stars
that won't go out in any kind of water.
And I don't know why I'm wounded
deeper than tears by joy
whenever I witness any undoubted example
of human excellence
and penumbrally share in the triumph
remembering how truly astonishing
a human being can be
when compassion and insight
are the fruit and roots of the tree.
So much in the world I abhor,
horrors and sorrows and atrocities
that violate the elemental dignity of life
as it expresses itself in a human so deeply
even the silence cuts out its tongue
as an offence against
the unspeakable decency of the darkest abyss
when it stands before evil.
Like a golden fish in a polluted stream
slurried by a nuclear reactor
into a cancerous elixir
I have ingested every toxic meme
of a sick society in a feverish dream
and I cannot help but think and feel and live
whatever's written on the water
to soil the stars
that thought they were out of reach
and make manic depressives
of the waves that spoil the beach.
A child of my times, the Zeitgeist, the Holy Ghost,
and the jinn at every well
like the forbidden fires of holy explosives
wrapped in folds of smoke,
I see through the glass darkly
like everyone else
who paints the eye of their telescope
with the shepherd moons
of despair and hope
and reports their observations as the truth
to whomever might be listening.
I can humble the night with my darkness
when the light goes out
and I have fought for years
with the child that I am
not to feel guilty or vulnerable
whenever I was taken unawares
by some happiness
that spilled over the rim of the black hole
that indelibly kept my cup full.
Now I rejoice in the emptiness of things
as useless as rocks and people
and feel a great tenderness for anyone
who needs to feel anything more.
I like the way your gate is hanging by a hinge.
I like the dead bee on the pyre
of the late-blooming fire
that consumes it like a last kiss.
I like the way my portrait's turned toward the wall
like a delinquent outside the principal's office
listening for footsteps down the long, empty hall.
Lightning in the lighthouse
or fireflies on the moon
I like the way my Zippo snaps shut
like the beak of a turtle at the feather of the flame
it rose like an ancient moon from the muddy depths
to pull under.
I find joy in the slightest,
in the cast away and the spurned,
in the tiny birds that have learned
to glean the dragonflies
off the car radiators
and the way people like to be found
like hubcaps at the side of the road
holding up a mirror to the beauty
of the wild irises
like a new logo
they hope will catch on.
When you haven't been saved from anything
there isn't much left to save you from
or any point in trying
to save the ashes from the fire
after everything's gone up in smoke
so why ox yourself
to the unbearable yoke of a cross
trying to grind bread out of starwheat
when the children you labour to save like seed
have already died for the night
with nothing to eat?
Who needs to turn themselves into a broom
when they've drunk their mirages dry
to sweep the deserts off the stairs
of an afterlife in an empty asylum
that talks to itself like the moon?
I don't care what kind of bars
silver, gold, iron or bone,
spiritual or corruptly marrowed
by the tainted terrestrial
you want to put on the window
to keep the stars out like thieves at the gate,
I'm already in.
And you're way too late.
I like to live my life
as if I were getting away with something.
I like being weeded out like a key
to a door that time forgot to close
like the coffin lid of the nightwatchman
who kept an eye on things like a flashlight
looking for his flashlight,
his mind for his mind.
I like being less and less of me
like a rogue sunset that sheds its roses
like a watercolour of its eyes in the void
to see more clearly into the emptiness
there's nothing to be in this nothingness
that isn't a last lifeboat without oars
and no one in it to rescue
jumping ship in a turbulent dream.
Illusory cures for illusory diseases.
And once you're restored to clarity
does it really matter
what the medicine means?
I like the tear in my wounded blue jeans.
I like the autumn dyes that set your hair on fire
like the Gatineau Hills
as you squander your leaves like rain-cheques
in the overly salubrious poker-faced casinos of Quebec.
I like the day I was let out of school
with eternity for a recess.
Why spend your life
panning your own mindstream
for the fool's gold of the iron pyrite rule:
Do unto others before they do unto you,
when you know as well as Wall Street
things aren't what they seem?
Look how an apple tree lives.
It gives. And it thrives
by just expressing itself
like a bouquet in the hand of a bride
that walks like a bridge to the altar
and marries herself in her own eyes
to the earth she's rooted in
holding her green arms up
to the orchards of the Hesperides
that blossom among the stars
like holy ancestors.
I like the way the comets stray
like hair across her face
and the way she twists her mouth
like driftwood in the sun
to blow them away.
And I like the blaze
of the supernovae of enlightenment
who give it all back to the night
like a blood transfusion,
a hemorrhage of light,
and even more,
these small illuminations
that arrive through the night and day
like anonymous stars and flowers
beside a death bed in a private room
where only the dying know what to say.
Stars above the mountain.
Flowers in the valley.
I like the way the moon's punked out in the alley
between the church and the funeral home.
I like the way I refuse to assume I know where I'm going
like a newly-hatched garden snake in the spring
or a stream setting out on its own
with nothing for a creekbed
but its own flowing
and how I always catch myself like a fish
rising to the hook and allure of a new direction
as if that were the truth north of not having one.
But let the goldfish nibble at the moon as they will
and swim through the tops of the trees
even as these fire-birds are flying through my roots.
I like the feel of the new heels on my cowboy boots.
I like playing the fool with my own molecules
as if I were madder than plutonium
at having to break my balls like a kick in the nuts
with my own pool cue
everytime I give the game away
hoping somehow that will make me
as sane as lead in the table of things.
I see hell. I live in hell. I breathe hell.
And this pillar of I enshrines and embodies it
like the corpse of a murdered river
flowing through darkness
without any recourse or redemption
for its suffering.
No elixir. No grail. No lapis philosophorum.
No celestial gold to climb the ladders of fire
out of the dungeons of hydrogen
or missing link that breaks the chains
of the slaves in the hold
that labour in vain to endure.
Life isn't fair or unfair.
Pure or compounded.
Civilized or savage.
Eternal or brief.
Loving or hateful
nor all of these together.
The sky isn't just
the daily news of the weather
and the sea isn't just
the tragic rage of co-conspirators
doing their worst to fall on their own swords
as if they could be turned
like waves against one another
and though it is immaculately kind of us to say so
the earth really isn't our mother
if you go back far enough.
The earth is more of a nurse these days
trying to suckle
a hydra-headed wound
in a nightshift emergency ward
at the full moon
with plastic udders of blood
hanging from a cruclfix on wheels.
For every demon that jumps from heaven
an angel rises from hell
and I like the way
I'm learning to fall toward paradise
without a parachute
like a one-winged samara trying to angel on
with these seeds of loaded dice
riding the luck of the wind
like a wounded albatross
looking for new ground
at the foot of an empty cross.
As much has been gained as was lost.
I like the way time weaves the manes
of the sheepish dandelions
into the emergency ghosts
of a thousand scattered parachutes.
I like the way every conclusion about life
rights itself with its opposite
like a compass or a keel
and there are addictions
so intensely beyond the obvious dark mirrors
and shared needles of true north
trying to snort the stars
to light up the room like a legend
on a neon movie marquee,
unschooled states of mind
so powerfully clear and whole
your being is shot up like a tree in the lightning
that God wants to use for a voice-box
so that the tree is known by its fruits,
the taste of its words,
the joy of its birds,
the blossom of the moon on the dead branch
the butterfly on the green
like the whole notes and stops on the flute
of a snake-charmer
collaborating with the muse of a cobra
on a new song
two minutes long with a hook.
I like the way life goes on in the dark
beyond the painted eyelids of the billboards
running for re-election as a theme park
to improve the fibre-optics of their umbilical cords.
Even as the truth turns out
to be more of a lock than a key
that can be turned in your mouth like a word
to set you free of yourself
like a long thought-chain
that plugs the world into your navel;
and beauty is a pimped-out carnival
of surgical exaggerations and defects
that wear the look of lost luggage
under the sagging circus tents
that taxi down the runways of the rejects;
and the evil that is done in the world
cloaks the oceanic eye of awareness
with the cataract of an oilslick
that giftwraps everyone like water
in the same starless snake-skin
they tattoo their corporate logos on
like a new translation of the Rosetta Stone
in the demotic tongues
of the illiterate mobs of PsychoBabylon.
Even in this deepest eclipse of hell
that swallows us whole
like the eggs of the moon in a nest
and is running out of eyes to darken,
even here there are still small lighthouses of joy
that shine through the cracked skulls of these coasts
and haloes of fireflies
that still iris the eyes of the black holes
that are too deep for anyone to put down roots
or go witching for water with lightning
screwed into the eyesockets
of their spineless lightbulbs
in their see-through birthday suits.
Let evil offend or amend its own statutes.
I like the feel of the new heels on my cowboy boots.
The Man Against the Sky
Between me and the sunset, like a dome
Against the glory of a world on fire,
Now burned a sudden hill,
Bleak, round, and high, by flame-lit height made higher,
With nothing on it for the flame to kill
Save one who moved and was alone up there
To loom before the chaos and the glare
As if he were the last god going home
Unto his last desire.
Dark, marvelous, and inscrutable he moved on
Till down the fiery distance he was gone,
Like one of those eternal, remote things
That range across a man’s imaginings
When a sure music fills him and he knows
What he may say thereafter to few men,—
The touch of ages having wrought
An echo and a glimpse of what he thought
A phantom or a legend until then;
For whether lighted over ways that save,
Or lured from all repose,
If he go on too far to find a grave,
Mostly alone he goes.
Even he, who stood where I had found him,
On high with fire all round him,
Who moved along the molten west,
And over the round hill’s crest
That seemed half ready with him to go down,
Flame-bitten and flame-cleft,
As if there were to be no last thing left
Of a nameless unimaginable town,—
Even he who climbed and vanished may have taken
Down to the perils of a depth not known,
From death defended though by men forsaken,
The bread that every man must eat alone;
He may have walked while others hardly dared
Look on to see him stand where many fell;
And upward out of that, as out of hell,
He may have sung and striven
To mount where more of him shall yet be given,
Bereft of all retreat,
To sevenfold heat,—
As on a day when three in Dura shared
The furnace, and were spared
For glory by that king of Babylon
Who made himself so great that God, who heard,
Covered him with long feathers, like a bird.
Again, he may have gone down easily,
By comfortable altitudes, and found,
As always, underneath him solid ground
Whereon to be sufficient and to stand
Possessed already of the promised land,
Far stretched and fair to see:
A good sight, verily,
And one to make the eyes of her who bore him
Shine glad with hidden tears.
Why question of his ease of who before him,
In one place or another where they left
Their names as far behind them as their bones,
And yet by dint of slaughter toil and theft,
And shrewdly sharpened stones,
Carved hard the way for his ascendency
Through deserts of lost years?
Why trouble him now who sees and hears
No more than what his innocence requires,
And therefore to no other height aspires
Than one at which he neither quails nor tires?
He may do more by seeing what he sees
Than others eager for iniquities;
He may, by seeing all things for the best,
Incite futurity to do the rest.
Or with an even likelihood,
He may have met with atrabilious eyes
The fires of time on equal terms and passed
Indifferently down, until at last
His only kind of grandeur would have been,
Apparently, in being seen.
He may have had for evil or for good
No argument; he may have had no care
For what without himself went anywhere
To failure or to glory, and least of all
For such a stale, flamboyant miracle;
He may have been the prophet of an art
Immovable to old idolatries;
He may have been a player without a part,
Annoyed that even the sun should have the skies
For such a flaming way to advertise;
He may have been a painter sick at heart
With Nature’s toiling for a new surprise;
He may have been a cynic, who now, for all
Of anything divine that his effete
Negation may have tasted,
Saw truth in his own image, rather small,
Forbore to fever the ephemeral,
Found any barren height a good retreat
From any swarming street,
And in the sun saw power superbly wasted;
And when the primitive old-fashioned stars
Came out again to shine on joys and wars
More primitive, and all arrayed for doom,
He may have proved a world a sorry thing
In his imagining,
And life a lighted highway to the tomb.
Or, mounting with infirm unsearching tread,
His hopes to chaos led,
He may have stumbled up there from the past,
And with an aching strangeness viewed the last
Abysmal conflagration of his dreams,—
A flame where nothing seems
To burn but flame itself, by nothing fed;
And while it all went out,
Not even the faint anodyne of doubt
May then have eased a painful going down
From pictured heights of power and lost renown,
Revealed at length to his outlived endeavor
Remote and unapproachable forever;
And at his heart there may have gnawed
Sick memories of a dead faith foiled and flawed
And long dishonored by the living death
Assigned alike by chance
To brutes and hierophants;
And anguish fallen on those he loved around him
May once have dealt the last blow to confound him,
And so have left him as death leaves a child,
Who sees it all too near;
And he who knows no young way to forget
May struggle to the tomb unreconciled.
Whatever suns may rise or set
There may be nothing kinder for him here
Than shafts and agonies;
And under these
He may cry out and stay on horribly;
Or, seeing in death too small a thing to fear,
He may go forward like a stoic Roman
Where pangs and terrors in his pathway lie,—
Or, seizing the swift logic of a woman,
Curse God and die.
Or maybe there, like many another one
Who might have stood aloft and looked ahead,
Black-drawn against wild red,
He may have built, unawed by fiery gules
That in him no commotion stirred,
A living reason out of molecules
Why molecules occurred,
And one for smiling when he might have sighed
Had he seen far enough,
And in the same inevitable stuff
Discovered an odd reason too for pride
In being what he must have been by laws
Infrangible and for no kind of cause.
Deterred by no confusion or surprise
He may have seen with his mechanic eyes
A world without a meaning, and had room,
Alone amid magnificence and doom,
To build himself an airy monument
That should, or fail him in his vague intent,
Outlast an accidental universe—
To call it nothing worse—
Or, by the burrowing guile
Of Time disintegrated and effaced,
Like once-remembered mighty trees go down
To ruin, of which by man may now be traced
No part sufficient even to be rotten,
And in the book of things that are forgotten
Is entered as a thing not quite worth while.
He may have been so great
That satraps would have shivered at his frown,
And all he prized alive may rule a state
No larger than a grave that holds a clown;
He may have been a master of his fate,
And of his atoms,—ready as another
In his emergence to exonerate
His father and his mother;
He may have been a captain of a host,
Self-eloquent and ripe for prodigies,
Doomed here to swell by dangerous degrees,
And then give up the ghost.
Nahum’s great grasshoppers were such as these,
Sun-scattered and soon lost.
Whatever the dark road he may have taken,
This man who stood on high
And faced alone the sky,
Whatever drove or lured or guided him,—
A vision answering a faith unshaken,
An easy trust assumed of easy trials,
A sick negation born of weak denials,
A crazed abhorrence of an old condition,
A blind attendance on a brief ambition,—
Whatever stayed him or derided him,
His way was even as ours;
And we, with all our wounds and all our powers,
Must each await alone at his own height
Another darkness or another light;
And there, of our poor self dominion reft,
If inference and reason shun
Hell, Heaven, and Oblivion,
May thwarted will (perforce precarious,
But for our conservation better thus)
Have no misgiving left
Of doing yet what here we leave undone?
Or if unto the last of these we cleave,
Believing or protesting we believe
In such an idle and ephemeral
Florescence of the diabolical,—
If, robbed of two fond old enormities,
Our being had no onward auguries,
What then were this great love of ours to say
For launching other lives to voyage again
A little farther into time and pain,
A little faster in a futile chase
For a kingdom and a power and a Race
That would have still in sight
A manifest end of ashes and eternal night?
Is this the music of the toys we shake
So loud,—as if there might be no mistake
Somewhere in our indomitable will?
Are we no greater than the noise we make
Along one blind atomic pilgrimage
Whereon by crass chance billeted we go
Because our brains and bones and cartilage
Will have it so?
If this we say, then let us all be still
About our share in it, and live and die
More quietly thereby.
Where was he going, this man against the sky?
You know not, nor do I.
But this we know, if we know anything:
That we may laugh and fight and sing
And of our transience here make offering
To an orient Word that will not be erased,
Or, save in incommunicable gleams
Too permanent for dreams,
Be found or known.
No tonic and ambitious irritant
Of increase or of want
Has made an otherwise insensate waste
Of ages overthrown
A ruthless, veiled, implacable foretaste
Of other ages that are still to be
Depleted and rewarded variously
Because a few, by fate’s economy,
Shall seem to move the world the way it goes;
No soft evangel of equality,
Safe-cradled in a communal repose
That huddles into death and may at last
Be covered well with equatorial snows—
And all for what, the devil only knows—
Will aggregate an inkling to confirm
The credit of a sage or of a worm,
Or tell us why one man in five
Should have a care to stay alive
While in his heart he feels no violence
Laid on his humor and intelligence
When infant Science makes a pleasant face
And waves again that hollow toy, the Race;
No planetary trap where souls are wrought
For nothing but the sake of being caught
And sent again to nothing will attune
Itself to any key of any reason
Why man should hunger through another season
To find out why ’twere better late than soon
To go away and let the sun and moon
And all the silly stars illuminate
A place for creeping things,
And those that root and trumpet and have wings,
And herd and ruminate,
Or dive and flash and poise in rivers and seas,
Or by their loyal tails in lofty trees
Hang screeching lewd victorious derision
Of man’s immortal vision.
Shall we, because Eternity records
Too vast an answer for the time-born words
We spell, whereof so many are dead that once
In our capricious lexicons
Were so alive and final, hear no more
The Word itself, the living word
That none alive has ever heard
Or ever spelt,
And few have ever felt
Without the fears and old surrenderings
And terrors that began
When Death let fall a feather from his wings
And humbled the first man?
Because the weight of our humility,
Wherefrom we gain
A little wisdom and much pain,
Falls here too sore and there too tedious,
Are we in anguish or complacency,
Not looking far enough ahead
To see by what mad couriers we are led
Along the roads of the ridiculous,
To pity ourselves and laugh at faith
And while we curse life bear it?
And if we see the soul’s dead end in death,
Are we to fear it?
What folly is here that has not yet a name
Unless we say outright that we are liars?
What have we seen beyond our sunset fires
That lights again the way by which we came?
Why pay we such a price, and one we give
So clamoringly, for each racked empty day
That leads one more last human hope away,
As quiet fiends would lead past our crazed eyes
Our children to an unseen sacrifice?
If after all that we have lived and thought,
All comes to Nought,—
If there be nothing after Now,
And we be nothing anyhow,
And we know that,—why live?
’Twere sure but weaklings’ vain distress
To suffer dungeons where so many doors
Will open on the cold eternal shores
That look sheer down
To the dark tideless floods of Nothingness
Where all who know may drown.
Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl
To the Memory of the Household It Describes
This Poem is Dedicated by the Author:
"As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits,which be Angels of Light, are augmented not only by the Divine lightof the Sun, but also by our common Wood Fire: and as the CelestialFire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth thesame." -- Cor. Agrippa, Occult Philosophy,
Book I.ch. v.
"Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of Storm." EMERSON, The Snow Storm.
The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.
Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, --
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd's-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold's pole of birch,
The cock his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.
Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingëd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.
So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature's geometric signs,
In starry flake, and pellicle,
All day the hoary meteor fell;
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below, --
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa's leaning miracle.
A prompt, decisive man, no breath
Our father wasted: "Boys, a path!"
Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy
Count such a summons less than joy?)
Our buskins on our feet we drew;
With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
To guard our necks and ears from snow,
We cut the solid whiteness through.
And, where the drift was deepest, made
A tunnel walled and overlaid
With dazzling crystal: we had read
Of rare Aladdin's wondrous cave,
And to our own his name we gave,
With many a wish the luck were ours
To test his lamp's supernal powers.
We reached the barn with merry din,
And roused the prisoned brutes within.
The old horse thrust his long head out,
And grave with wonder gazed about;
The cock his lusty greeting said,
And forth his speckled harem led;
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
And mild reproach of hunger looked;
The hornëd patriarch of the sheep,
Like Egypt's Amun roused from sleep,
Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
And emphasized with stamp of foot.
All day the gusty north-wind bore
The loosening drift its breath before;
Low circling round its southern zone,
The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone.
No church-bell lent its Christian tone
To the savage air, no social smoke
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak.
A solitude made more intense
By dreary-voicëd elements,
The shrieking of the mindless wind,
The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind,
And on the glass the unmeaning beat
Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet.
Beyond the circle of our hearth
No welcome sound of toil or mirth
Unbound the spell, and testified
Of human life and thought outside.
We minded that the sharpest ear
The buried brooklet could not hear,
The music of whose liquid lip
Had been to us companionship,
And, in our lonely life, had grown
To have an almost human tone.
As night drew on, and, from the crest
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,
The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank
From sight beneath the smothering bank,
We piled, with care, our nightly stack
Of wood against the chimney-back, --
The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
And on its top the stout back-stick;
The knotty forestick laid apart,
And filled between with curious art
The ragged brush; then, hovering near,
We watched the first red blaze appear,
Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
Until the old, rude-furnished room
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;
While radiant with a mimic flame
Outside the sparkling drift became,
And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree
Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.
The crane and pendent trammels showed,
The Turks' heads on the andirons glowed;
While childish fancy, prompt to tell
The meaning of the miracle,
Whispered the old rhyme: "Under the tree,
When fire outdoors burns merrily,
There the witches are making tea."
The moon above the eastern wood
Shone at its full; the hill-range stood
Transfigured in the silver flood,
Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,
Dead white, save where some sharp ravine
Took shadow, or the sombre green
Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black
Against the whiteness at their back.
For such a world and such a night
Most fitting that unwarming light,
Which only seemed where'er it fell
To make the coldness visible.
Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
The merrier up its roaring draught
The great throat of the chimney laughed;
The house-dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
The cat's dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger's seemed to fall;
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons' straddling feet,
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October's wood.
What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north-wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow.
O Time and Change! -- with hair as gray
As was my sire's that winter day,
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on!
Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now, --
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where we may, the wide earth o'er,
Those lighted faces smile no more.
We tread the paths their feet have worn,
We sit beneath their orchard trees,
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
And rustle of the bladed corn;
We turn the pages that they read,
Their written words we linger o'er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor!
Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust,
(Since He who knows our need is just,)
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play!
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
That Life is ever lord of Death,
And Love can never lose its own!
We sped the time with stories old,
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told,
Or stammered from our school-book lore
"The Chief of Gambia's golden shore."
How often since, when all the land
Was clay in Slavery's shaping hand,
As if a far-blown trumpet stirred
The languorous sin-sick air, I heard:
"Does not the voice of reason cry,
Claim the first right which Nature gave,
From the red scourge of bondage to fly,
Nor deign to live a burdened slave!"
Our father rode again his ride
On Memphremagog's wooded side;
Sat down again to moose and samp
In trapper's hut and Indian camp;
Lived o'er the old idyllic ease
Beneath St. François' hemlock-trees;
Again for him the moonlight shone
On Norman cap and bodiced zone;
Again he heard the violin play
Which led the village dance away.
And mingled in its merry whirl
The grandam and the laughing girl.
Or, nearer home, our steps he led
Where Salisbury's level marshes spread
Mile-wide as flies the laden bee;
Where merry mowers, hale and strong,
Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along
The low green prairies of the sea.
We shared the fishing off Boar's Head,
And round the rocky Isles of Shoals
The hake-broil on the drift-wood coals;
The chowder on the sand-beach made,
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot,
With spoons of clam-shell from the pot.
We heard the tales of witchcraft old,
And dream and sign and marvel told
To sleepy listeners as they lay
Stretched idly on the salted hay,
Adrift along the winding shores,
When favoring breezes deigned to blow
The square sail of the gundelow
And idle lay the useless oars.
Our mother, while she turned her wheel
Or run the new-knit stocking-heel,
Told how the Indian hordes came down
At midnight on Concheco town,
And how her own great-uncle bore
His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore.
Recalling, in her fitting phrase,
So rich and picturesque and free
(The common unrhymed poetry
Of simple life and country ways,)
The story of her early days, --
She made us welcome to her home;
Old hearths grew wide to give us room;
We stole with her a frightened look
At the gray wizard's conjuring-book,
The fame whereof went far and wide
Through all the simple country side;
We heard the hawks at twilight play,
The boat-horn on Piscataqua,
The loon's weird laughter far away;
We fished her little trout-brook, knew
What flowers in wood and meadow grew,
What sunny hillsides autumn-brown
She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down,
Saw where in sheltered cove and bay,
The ducks' black squadron anchored lay,
And heard the wild-geese calling loud
Beneath the gray November cloud.
Then, haply, with a look more grave,
And soberer tone, some tale she gave
From painful Sewel's ancient tome,
Beloved in every Quaker home,
Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom,
Or Chalkley's Journal, old and quaint, --
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint! --
Who, when the dreary calms prevailed,
And water-butt and bread-cask failed,
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
His portly presence mad for food,
With dark hints muttered under breath
Of casting lots for life or death,
Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
To be himself the sacrifice.
Then, suddenly, as if to save
The good man from his living grave,
A ripple on the water grew,
A school of porpoise flashed in view.
"Take, eat," he said, "and be content;
These fishes in my stead are sent
By Him who gave the tangled ram
To spare the child of Abraham."
Our uncle, innocent of books,
Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
The ancient teachers never dumb
Of Nature's unhoused lyceum.
In moons and tides and weather wise,
He read the clouds as prophecies,
And foul or fair could well divine,
By many an occult hint and sign,
Holding the cunning-warded keys
To all the woodcraft mysteries;
Himself to Nature's heart so near
That all her voices in his ear
Of beast or bird had meanings clear,
Like Apollonius of old,
Who knew the tales the sparrows told,
Or Hermes, who interpreted
What the sage cranes of Nilus said;
A simple, guileless, childlike man,
Content to live where life began;
Strong only on his native grounds,
The little world of sights and sounds
Whose girdle was the parish bounds,
Whereof his fondly partial pride
The common features magnified,
As Surrey hills to mountains grew
In White of Selborne's loving view, --
He told how teal and loon he shot,
And how the eagle's eggs he got,
The feats on pond and river done,
The prodigies of rod and gun;
Till, warming with the tales he told,
Forgotten was the outside cold,
The bitter wind unheeded blew,
From ripening corn the pigeons flew,
The partridge drummed i' the wood, the mink
Went fishing down the river-brink.
In fields with bean or clover gray,
The woodchuck, like a hermit gray,
Peered from the doorway of his cell;
The muskrat plied the mason's trade,
And tier by tier his mud-walls laid;
And from the shagbark overhead
The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell.
Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer
And voice in dreams I see and hear, --
The sweetest woman ever Fate
Perverse denied a household mate,
Who, lonely, homeless, not the less
Found peace in love's unselfishness,
And welcome wheresoe'er she went,
A calm and gracious element,
Whose presence seemed the sweet income
And womanly atmosphere of home, --
Called up her girlhood memories,
The huskings and the apple-bees,
The sleigh-rides and the summer sails,
Weaving through all the poor details
And homespun warp of circumstance
A golden woof-thread of romance.
For well she kept her genial mood
And simple faith of maidenhood;
Before her still a cloud-land lay,
The mirage loomed across her way;
The morning dew, that dries so soon
With others, glistened at her noon;
Through years of toil and soil and care,
From glossy tress to thin gray hair,
All unprofaned she held apart
The virgin fancies of the heart.
Be shame to him of woman born
Who hath for such but thought of scorn.
There, too, our elder sister plied
Her evening task the stand beside;
A full, rich nature, free to trust,
Truthful and almost sternly just,
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
And make her generous thought a fact,
Keeping with many a light disguise
The secret of self-sacrifice.
O heart sore-tried! thou hast the best
That Heaven itself could give thee, -- rest,
Rest from all bitter thoughts and things!
How many a poor one's blessing went
With thee beneath the low green tent
Whose curtain never outward swings!
As one who held herself a part
Of all she saw, and let her heart
Against the household bosom lean,
Upon the motley-braided mat
Our youngest and our dearest sat,
Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
Now bathed in the unfading green
And holy peace of Paradise.
Oh, looking from some heavenly hill,
Or from the shade of saintly palms,
Or silver reach of river calms,
Do those large eyes behold me still?
With me one little year ago: --
The chill weight of the winter snow
For months upon her grave has lain;
And now, when summer south-winds blow
And brier and harebell bloom again,
I tread the pleasant paths we trod,
I see the violet-sprinkled sod
Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak
The hillside flowers she loved to seek,
Yet following me where'er I went
With dark eyes full of love's content.
The birds are glad; the brier-rose fills
The air with sweetness; all the hills
Stretch green to June's unclouded sky;
But still I wait with ear and eye
For something gone which should be nigh,
A loss in all familiar things,
In flower that blooms, and bird that sings.
And yet, dear heart! remembering thee,
Am I not richer than of old?
Safe in thy immortality,
What change can reach the wealth I hold?
What chance can mar the pearl and gold
Thy love hath left in trust with me?
And while in life's late afternoon,
Where cool and long the shadows grow,
I walk to meet the night that soon
Shall shape and shadow overflow,
I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at need the angels are;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand?
Brisk wielder of the birch and rule,
The master of the district school
Held at the fire his favored place,
Its warm glow lit a laughing face
Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared
The uncertain prophecy of beard.
He teased the mitten-blinded cat,
Played cross-pins on my uncle's hat,
Sang songs, and told us what befalls
In classic Dartmouth's college halls.
Born the wild Northern hills among,
From whence his yeoman father wrung
By patient toil subsistence scant,
Not competence and yet not want,
He early gained the power to pay
His cheerful, self-reliant way;
Could doff at ease his scholar's gown
To peddle wares from town to town;
Or through the long vacation's reach
In lonely lowland districts teach,
Where all the droll experience found
At stranger hearths in boarding round,
The moonlit skater's keen delight,
The sleigh-drive through the frosty night,
The rustic party, with its rough
Accompaniment of blind-man's-buff,
And whirling-plate, and forfeits paid,
His winter task a pastime made.
Happy the snow-locked homes wherein
He tuned his merry violin,
Or played the athlete in the barn,
Or held the good dame's winding-yarn,
Or mirth-provoking versions told
Of classic legends rare and old,
Wherein the scenes of Greece and Rome
Had all the commonplace of home,
And little seemed at best the odds
'Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods;
Where Pindus-born Arachthus took
The guise of any grist-mill brook,
And dread Olympus at his will
Became a huckleberry hill.
A careless boy that night he seemed;
But at his desk he had the look
And air of one who wisely schemed,
And hostage from the future took
In trainëd thought and lore of book.
Large-brained, clear-eyed, of such as he
Shall Freedom's young apostles be,
Who, following in War's bloody trail,
Shall every lingering wrong assail;
All chains from limb and spirit strike,
Uplift the black and white alike;
Scatter before their swift advance
The darkness and the ignorance,
The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth,
Which nurtured Treason's monstrous growth,
Made murder pastime, and the hell
Of prison-torture possible;
The cruel lie of caste refute,
Old forms remould, and substitute
For Slavery's lash the freeman's will,
For blind routine, wise-handed skill;
A school-house plant on every hill,
Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence
The quick wires of intelligence;
Till North and South together brought
Shall own the same electric thought,
In peace a common flag salute,
And, side by side in labor's free
And unresentful rivalry,
Harvest the fields wherein they fought.
Another guest that winter night
Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
The honeyed music of her tongue
And words of meekness scarcely told
A nature passionate and bold,
Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
Its milder features dwarfed beside
Her unbent will's majestic pride.
She sat among us, at the best,
A not unfeared, half-welcome guest,
Rebuking with her cultured phrase
Our homeliness of words and ways.
A certain pard-like, treacherous grace
Swayed the lithe limbs and drooped the lash,
Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash;
And under low brows, black with night,
Rayed out at times a dangerous light;
The sharp heat-lightnings of her face
Presaging ill to him whom Fate
Condemned to share her love or hate.
A woman tropical, intense
In thought and act, in soul and sense,
She blended in a like degree
The vixen and the devotee,
Revealing with each freak or feint
The temper of Petruchio's Kate,
The raptures of Siena's saint.
Her tapering hand and rounded wrist
Had facile power to form a fist;
The warm, dark languish of her eyes
Was never safe from wrath's surprise.
Brows saintly calm and lips devout
Knew every change of scowl and pout;
And the sweet voice had notes more high
And shrill for social battle-cry.
Since then what old cathedral town
Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown,
What convent-gate has held its lock
Against the challenge of her knock!
Through Smyrna's plague-hushed thoroughfares,
Up sea-set Malta's rocky stairs,
Gray olive slopes of hills that hem
Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem,
Or startling on her desert throne
The crazy Queen of Lebanon
With claims fantastic as her own,
Her tireless feet have held their way;
And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray,
She watches under Eastern skies,
With hope each day renewed and fresh,
The Lord's quick coming in the flesh,
Whereof she dreams and prophesies!
Where'er her troubled path may be,
The Lord's sweet pity with her go!
The outward wayward life we see,
The hidden springs we may not know.
Nor is it given us to discern
What threads the fatal sisters spun,
Through what ancestral years has run
The sorrow with the woman born,
What forged her cruel chain of moods,
What set her feet in solitudes,
And held the love within her mute,
What mingled madness in the blood,
A life-long discord and annoy,
Water of tears with oil of joy,
And hid within the folded bud
Perversities of flower and fruit.
It is not ours to separate
The tangled skein of will and fate,
To show what metes and bounds should stand
Upon the soul's debatable land,
And between choice and Providence
Divide the circle of events;
But He who knows our frame is just,
Merciful and compassionate,
And full of sweet assurances
And hope for all the language is,
That He remembereth we are dust!
At last the great logs, crumbling low,
Sent out a dull and duller glow,
The bull's-eye watch that hung in view,
Ticking its weary circuit through,
Pointed with mutely warning sign
Its black hand to the hour of nine.
That sign the pleasant circle broke:
My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke,
Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray,
And laid it tenderly away;
Then roused himself to safely cover
The dull red brands with ashes over.
And while, with care, our mother laid
The work aside, her steps she stayed
One moment, seeking to express
Her grateful sense of happiness
For food and shelter, warmth and health,
And love's contentment more than wealth,
With simple wishes (not the weak,
Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek,
But such as warm the generous heart,
O'er-prompt to do with Heaven its part)
That none might lack, that bitter night,
For bread and clothing, warmth and light.
Within our beds awhile we heard
The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores.
Next morn we wakened with the shout
Of merry voices high and clear;
And saw the teamsters drawing near
To break the drifted highways out.
Down the long hillside treading slow
We saw the half-buried oxen go,
Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
Their straining nostrils white with frost.
Before our door the straggling train
Drew up, an added team to gain.
The elders threshed their hands a-cold,
Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
From lip to lip; the younger folks
Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled,
Then toiled again the cavalcade
O'er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
And woodland paths that wound between
Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
From every barn a team afoot,
At every house a new recruit,
Where, drawn by Nature's subtlest law,
Haply the watchful young men saw
Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
And curious eyes of merry girls,
Lifting their hands in mock defence
Against the snow-ball's compliments,
And reading in each missive tost
The charm with Eden never lost.
We heard once more the sleigh-bells' sound;
And, following where the teamsters led,
The wise old Doctor went his round,
Just pausing at our door to say,
In the brief autocratic way
Of one who, prompt at Duty's call,
Was free to urge her claim on all,
That some poor neighbor sick abed
At night our mother's aid would need.
For, one in generous thought and deed,
What mattered in the sufferer's sight
The Quaker matron's inward light,
The Doctor's mail of Calvin's creed?
All hearts confess the saints elect
Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
And melt not in an acid sect
The Christian pearl of charity!
So days went on: a week had passed
Since the great world was heard from last.
The Almanac we studied o'er,
Read and reread our little store
Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score;
One harmless novel, mostly hid
From younger eyes, a book forbid,
And poetry, (or good or bad,
A single book was all we had,)
Where Ellwood's meek, drab-skirted Muse,
A stranger to the heathen Nine,
Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine,
The wars of David and the Jews.
At last the floundering carrier bore
The village paper to our door.
Lo! broadening outward as we read,
To warmer zones the horizon spread
In panoramic length unrolled
We saw the marvels that it told.
Before us passed the painted Creeks,
And daft McGregor on his raids
In Costa Rica's everglades.
And up Taygetos winding slow
Rode Ypsilanti's Mainote Greeks,
A Turk's head at each saddle-bow!
Welcome to us its week-old news,
Its corner for the rustic Muse,
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
Its record, mingling in a breath
The wedding bell and dirge of death:
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale,
The latest culprit sent to jail;
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
Its vendue sales and goods at cost,
And traffic calling loud for gain.
We felt the stir of hall and street,
The pulse of life that round us beat;
The chill embargo of the snow
Was melted in the genial glow;
Wide swung again our ice-locked door,
And all the world was ours once more!
Clasp, Angel of the backword look
And folded wings of ashen gray
And voice of echoes far away,
The brazen covers of thy book;
The weird palimpsest old and vast,
Wherein thou hid'st the spectral past;
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
The characters of joy and woe;
The monographs of outlived years,
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears,
Green hills of life that slope to death,
And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees
Shade off to mournful cypresses
With the white amaranths underneath.
Even while I look, I can but heed
The restless sands' incessant fall,
Importunate hours that hours succeed,
Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
And duty keeping pace with all.
Shut down and clasp with heavy lids;
I hear again the voice that bids
The dreamer leave his dream midway
For larger hopes and graver fears:
Life greatens in these later years,
The century's aloe flowers to-day!
Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
The worldling's eyes shall gather dew,
Dreaming in throngful city ways
Of winter joys his boyhood knew;
And dear and early friends -- the few
Who yet remain -- shall pause to view
These Flemish pictures of old days;
Sit with me by the homestead hearth,
And stretch the hands of memory forth
To warm them at the wood-fire's blaze!
And thanks untraced to lips unknown
Shall greet me like the odors blown
From unseen meadows newly mown,
Or lilies floating in some pond,
Wood-fringed, the wayside gaze beyond;
The traveller owns the grateful sense
Of sweetness near, he knows not whence,
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
The benediction of the air.
To grace those lines wch next appear to sight,
The Pencil shone with more abated light,
Yet still ye pencil shone, ye lines were fair,
& awfull Moses stands recorded there.
Lett his repleat with flames & praise divine
Lett his the first-rememberd Song be mine.
Then rise my thought, & in thy Prophet find
What Joy shoud warm thee for ye work designd.
To that great act which raisd his heart repair,
& find a portion of his Spirit there.
A Nation helpless & unarmd I view,
Whom strong revengefull troops of warr pursue,
Seas Stop their flight, their camp must prove their grave.
Ah what can Save them? God alone can save.
Gods wondrous voice proclaims his high command,
He bids their Leader wave the sacred wand,
& where the billows flowd they flow no more,
A road lyes naked & they march it o're.
Safe may the Sons of Jacob travell through,
But why will Hardend Ægypt venture too?
Vain in thy rage to think the waters flee,
& rise like walls on either hand for thee.
The night comes on the Season for surprize,
Yet fear not Israel God directs thine eyes,
A fiery cloud I see thine Angel ride,
His Chariot is thy light & he thy guide.
The day comes on & half thy succours fail,
Yet fear not Israel God will still prevail,
I see thine Angel from before thee go,
To make the wheeles of ventrous Ægypt slow,
His rolling cloud inwraps its beams of light,
& what supplyd thy day prolongs their night.
At length the dangers of the deep are run,
The Further brink is past, the bank is won,
The Leader turns to view the foes behind,
Then waves his solemn wand within the wind.
O Nation freed by wonders cease thy fear,
& stand & see the Lords salvation here.
Ye tempests now from ev'ry corner fly,
& wildly rage in all my fancyd Sky.
Roll on ye waters as ye rolld before,
Ye billows of my fancyd ocean roar,
Dash high, ride foaming, mingle all ye main.
Tis don—& Pharaoh cant afflict again.
The work the wondrous work of Freedomes don,
The winds abate, the clouds restore ye Sun,
The wreck appears, the threatning army drownd
Floats ore ye waves to strow the Sandy ground.
Then Place thy Moses near the calming flood,
Majestically mild, serenely good.
Lett Meekness (Lovely virtue) gently Stream
Around his visage like a lambent flame.
Lett gratefull Sentiments, lett Sense of love,
Lett holy zeal within his bosome move.
& while his People gaze ye watry plain,
& fears last touches like to doubt remain,
While bright astonishment that seems to raise
A questioning belief, is fond to praise,
Be thus the rapture in the Prophets breast,
Be thus the thankes for freedome gaind expresst.
Ile sing to God, Ile Sing ye songs of praise
To God triumphant in his wondrous ways,
To God whose glorys in the Seas excell,
Where the proud horse & prouder rider fell.
The Lord in mercy kind in Justice strong
Is now my strength, this Strength be now my song,
This sure salvation, (such he proves to me
from danger rescu'd & from bondage free).
The Lords my God & Ile prepare his seat,
My Fathers God & Ile proclaim him great,
Him Lord of Battles, him renownd in name,
Him ever faithfull, evermore the same.
His gracious aids avenge his peoples thrall,
They make the pride of boasting Pharaoh fall.
Within the Seas his stately Chariots ly,
Within the Seas his chosen Captains dy.
The rolling deeps have coverd o're the foe,
They sunk like stones they Swiftly sunk below.
There O my God thine hand confessd thy care,
Thine hand was glorious in thy power there,
It broke their troops unequall for the fight
In all the greatness of excelling might.
Thy wrath Sent forward on ye raging Stream,
Swift sure & Sudden their destruction came,
They fell as stubble burns, while driving skys
Provoke & whirl a flame & ruin fly's.
When blasts dispatchd with wonderfull intent
On soveraign orders from thy nostrills went,
For our accounts the waters were affraid,
Perceivd thy presence & together fled,
In heaps uprightly placd they learnd to stand,
like banks of Christall by ye paths of sand.
Then fondly flushd with hope, & swelld with pride,
& filld with rage, the foe prophanely cryd,
Secure of conquest Ile pursue their way,
Ile overtake them, Ile divide the prey,
My lust I'le Satisfy, mine anger cloy,
My sword Ile brandish, & their name destroy.
How wildly threats their anger: hark above
New blasts of wind on new commission move,
To loose the fetters that confind the main,
& make its mighty waters rage again,
Then overwhelmd with irresistless Sway
They Sunk like lead they sunk beneath the Sea.
O who like thee thou dreaded Lord of Host
Among the Gods whom all the nations boast
Such acts of wonder & of Strength displays,
O Great! O Glorious in thine holy ways!
Deserving praise, & that thy praise appear
In Signs of reverence & Sence of fear.
With Justice armd thou stretcht thy powrfull hand,
& earth between its gaping Jaws of land,
Receivd its waters of the parted main,
& swallowd up the dark Ægyptian train.
With mercy rising on the weaker Side,
Thy self became the rescud peoples guide,
& in thy strength they past th' amazing road,
To reach thine holy mount thy blessd abode.
What thou hast don the neighb'ring realms shall hear,
& feel the strange report excite their fear.
What thou hast don shall Edoms Dukes amaze,
& make dispair on Palestina Seize.
Shall make the warlike Sons of Moab Shake,
& all the melting hearts of Canaan weak.
In heavy damps diffusd on ev'ry breast
Shall cold distrust & hopeless Terrour rest.
The matchless greatness which thine hand has shown,
Shall keep their kingdomes as unmovd as stone,
While Jordan Stops above & failes below,
& all thy flock across the Channel go.
Thus on thy mercys silver-shining wing
Through seas & streams thou wilt ye nation bring,
& as the rooted trees securely stand,
So firmly plant it in the promisd land,
Where for thy self thou wilt a place prepare,
& after-ages will thine altar rear.
There reign victorious in thy Sacred Seat,
O Lord for ever & for ever great.
Look where the Tyrant was but lately seen,
The Seas gave backward & he venturd in,
In yonder gulph with haughty pomp he showd,
Here marchd his horsemen, there his chariots rode;
& when our God restord the floods again,
Ah vainly strong they perishd in the main.
But Israel went a dry surprizing way,
Made safe by miracles amidst ye sea.
Here ceasd the Song, tho' not ye Prophets Joy,
Which others hands & others tongues employ.
For still the lays with warmth divine expresst
Inflamd his hearers to their inmost breast.
Then Miriams notes the Chorus sweetly raise,
& Miriams timbrel gives new life to praise.
The moving sounds, like Soft delicious wind
That breathd from Paradise, a passage find,
Shed Sympathys for Odours as they rove,
& fan the risings of enkindled love.
Ore all ye crowd the thought inspiring flew,
The women followd with their timbrells too,
& thus from Moses where his strains arose,
They catchd a rapture to perform the close.
We'le sing to God, we'le sing ye songs of praise
To God triumphant in his wondrous ways,
To God whose glorys in ye Seas excell,
Where ye proud horse & prouder rider fell.
Thus Israel rapturd wth ye pleasing thought
Of Freedome wishd & wonderfully gott,
Made chearfull thanks from evry bank rebound,
Expressd by songs, improvd in Joy by sound.
O Sacred Moses, each infusing line
That movd their gratitude was part of thine,
& still the Christians in thy numbers view,
The type of Baptism & of Heaven too.
So Soules from water rise to Grace below:
So Saints from toil to praise & glory goe.
O gratefull Miriam in thy temper wrought
too warm for Silence or inventing thought
Thy part of anthem was to warble o're
In sweet response what Moses sung before.
Thou led the publick voice to Joyn his lays,
& words redoubling well redoubled praise.
Receive thy title, Prophetess was thine
When here thy Practice showd ye form divine.
The Spirit thus approvd, resignd in will
The Church bows down, & hears responses still.
Nor slightly suffer tunefull Jubals name
To miss his place among ye Sons of Fame,
Whose Sweet infusions coud of old inspire,
The breathing organs & ye trembling Lyre.
Father of these on earth, whose gentle Soul
By such ingagements coud ye mind controul,
If holy verses ought to Musick owe,
Be that thy large account of thanks below,
Whilst then ye timbrels lively pleasure gave,
& now whilst organs Sound Sedately grave.
My first attempt ye finishd course commends,
Now Fancy flagg not as that subject ends,
But charmd with beautys which attend thy way,
Ascend harmonious in the next essay.
So flys ye Lark, (& learn from her to fly)
She mounts, she warbles in ye wind on high,
She falls from thence, & seems to drop her wing,
but e're she lights to rest remounts to sing.
It is not farr the days have rolld their years,
Before the Second brightend work appears.
It is not farr, Alas the faulty cause
Which from the Prophet sad reflection draws!
Alas that blessings in possession cloy,
& peevish murmurs are preferrd to Joy,
That favourd Israel coud be faithless still,
& question Gods protecting power or will,
Or dread devoted Canaans warlike men,
& Long for Ægypt & their bonds again.
Scarce thrice the Sun since hardend Pharaoh dyd
As bridegrooms issue forth with glitt'ring pride
Rejoycing rose, & lett ye nation See
three Shining days of easy liberty,
Ere the mean fears of want producd within
Vain thought replenishd with rebellious Sin.
O Look not Israel to thy former way,
God cannot fail, & either wait or pray.
Within the borders of thy promisd Lands,
Lots hapless wife a strange example stands,
She turnd her eyes & felt her change begin,
& wrath as fierce may meet resembling Sin.
Then forward move thy camp & forward Still,
& lett sweet mercy bend thy Stubborn will.
At thy complaint a branch in Marah cast
With sweetning virtue mends ye waters tast.
At thy complaint the Lab'ring Tempest sailes,
& drives afore a wondrous showr of Quailes.
On tender grass the falling Manna lyes,
& Heav'n it self the want of bread supplys.
The rock divided flows upon the plain,
At thy complaint, & still thou wil't complain.
As thus employd thou went ye desart through,
Lo Sinai mount upreard its head to view.
Thine eyes perceivd the darkly-rolling cloud,
Thine ears the trumpet shrill ye thunder loud,
The forky lightning shot in livid gleam,
The Smoke arose, ye mountain all aflame
Quak'd to ye depths, & worked with signs of awe,
While God descended to dispense the law.
Yet neither mercy manifest in might
Nor pow'r in terrour coud preserve thee right.
Provokt with crimes of such an heinous kind
Allmighty Justice sware the doom designd,
That these shoud never reach ye promisd seat,
& Moses gently mourns their hastend fate.
Ile think him now resignd to publick care,
While night on pitchy plumes slides soft in air.
Ile think him giving what ye guilty sleep
To thoughts where Sorrow glides & numbers weep,
Sad thoughts of woes that reign where Sins prevail,
& mans short life, tho' not so short as frail.
Within this circle for his inward eyes
He bids the fading low creation rise,
& streight a train of mimick Senses brings
The dusky shapes of transitory things,
Thro' pensive shades the visions seem to range,
They seem to flourish, & they seem to change;
A moon decreasing runs the silent sky,
The sickly birds on molting feathers fly,
Men walking count their days of blessings o're,
The blessings vanish & the tales no more,
Still hours of nightly watches steal away,
Big waters roll green blades of grass decay,
Then all ye Pensive shades by Just degrees
Grows faint confuses & goes off with these.
But while the affecting notions pass along,
He chuses such as best adorn his song,
& thus with God the rising lays began,
God ever reigning God, compard with man:
& thus they movd to man beneath his rod;
Man deeply sinning, man chastisd by God.
O Lord O Saviour, tho' thy chosen band
Have staid like strangers in a forreign land,
Through numberd ages which have run their race,
Still has thy mercy been our dwelling place.
Before the most exalted dust of earth,
The stately mountains had receivd a birth;
Before the pillars of the world were laid,
Before its habitable parts were made,
Thou wer't the God, from thee their rise they drew,
Thou great for ages great for ever too.
Man (mortall creature framd to feel decays)
Thine unresisted pow'r at pleasure sways,
Thou sayst return & parting Soules obey,
Thou sayst return & bodys fall to clay.
For whats a thousand fleeting years wth thee?
Or Time compard with long eternity,
Whose wings expanding infinitely vast,
Orestretch its utmost ends of first & last?
Tis like those hours that lately saw ye Sun,
He rose, & set, & all the day was don.
Or like the watches which dead night divide,
& while we slumber unregarded glide,
Where all ye present seems a thing of nought,
& past & future close to waking thought.
As raging floods, when rivers swell with rain,
Bear down ye groves & overflow ye plain,
So swift & strong thy wondrous might appears,
So Life is carryd down the rolling years.
As heavy sleep pursues the days retreat,
With dark with silent & unactive state,
So lifes attended on by certain doom,
& deaths ye rest, ye resting place a tomb.
It quickly rises & it guickly goes,
& youth its morning, age its evening shows.
Thus tender blades of grass, when beams diffuse,
Rise from the pressure of their early dews,
Point tow'rds ye skys their elevated spires,
& proudly flourish in their green attires,
But soon (ah fading state of things below!)
The Scyth destructive mows ye lovely show,
The rising Sun that Saw their glorys high
That Sun descending sees their glorys dy.
We still with more than common hast of fate
Are doomd to perish in thy kindled hate.
Our publick sins for publick Justice call,
& stand like markes on which thy Judgements fall.
Our secret sins that folly thought conceald
Are in thy light for punishment reveald.
Beneath the terrours of thy wrath divine
Our days unmixd with happiness decline,
Like empty storys tedious, short, & vain,
& never never more recalld again.
Yet what were Life, if to ye longest date
Which men have namd a life we backned fate?
Alas its most computed length appears
To reach ye limits but of Seav'nty years,
& if by strength to fourscore years we goe,
That strength is labour, & that labour woe.
Then will thy term expire, & thou must fly
O man O Creature surely born to dy.
But who regards a truth so throughly known?
Who dreads a wrath so manifestly shown?
Who seems to fear it tho' ye danger vyes
With any pitch to which our fear can rise?
O teach us so to number all our days
That these reflections may correct our ways,
That these may lead us from delusive dreams
To walk in heavnly wisdomes golden beams.
Return O Lord, how Long shall Israels sin
How Long thine anger be preservd within!
Before our times irrevocably past
Be kind be gracious & return at last.
Let Favour soon-dispensd our soules employ,
& long endure to make enduring Joy.
Send years of comforts for our years of woes,
Send these at least of equall length with those.
Shine on thy flock & on their offspring shine
With tender mercy (sweetest act divine).
Bright rays of Majesty serenely shed,
To rest in Glorys on the nations head.
Our future deeds with approbation bless,
& in the giving them give us success.
Thus with forgiveness earnestly desird,
Thus in the raptures of a bliss requird,
The man of God concludes his Sacred Strain,
Now sitt & see ye subject once again.
See Ghastly Death where Desarts all around
Spread forth their barren undelightfull ground:
There stalks the silent melancholly shade,
His naked bones reclining on a spade,
& thrice the spade with solemn sadness heaves,
& thrice earth opens in the form of graves,
His gates of darkness gape to take him in,
Then where he soon woud Sink he's pushed by sin.
Poor Mortalls here your common picture know,
& with your Selves in this acquainted grow.
Through life with airy thoughtless pride you range
& vainly glitter in the Sphear of change,
A sphear where all things but for time remain,
Where no fixd starrs with endless glory reign,
But Meteors onely short-lived Meteors rise
To shine shoot down & dy beneath ye skys.
There is an hour, Ah who yt hour attends!
When man ye guilded vanity descends.
When forreign force or wast of inward heat
Constrain ye soul to leave its ancient seat;
When banishd Beauty from her empire flyes,
& with a languish leaves ye Sparkling eyes;
When softning Musick & Persuasion fail,
& all the charms that in ye tongue prevail,
When Spirits stop their course, when nerves unbrace,
& outward action & perception cease.
'Tis then the poor deformd remains shall be
That naked Skeleton we seem to see.
Make this thy mirrour if thou woudst have bliss,
No flattring image shows it self in this;
But such as lays the lofty lookes of pride,
& makes cool thought in humble channel glide;
But such as clears ye cheats of Errours den,
Whence magick mists surround ye soules of men,
Whence Self-Delusions trains adorn their flight,
As Snows fair feathers fleet to darken sight,
Then rest, & in the work of Fancy spread
To gay-wavd plumes for ev'ry mortals head.
These empty Forms when Death appears disperse,
Or melt in tears upon its mournfull hearse,
The sad reflection forces men to know,
'Life surely failes & swiftly flys below.
O Least thy folly loose ye proffit sought
O never touch it with a glancing thought,
As men to glasses come, & straight wth draw,
& straight forgett what sort of face they saw:
But fix intently fix thine inward eyes,
& in the strength of this great truth be wise.
'If on ye globes dim Side our sences Stray,
'Not usd to perfect light we think it day:
'Death seems long sleep, & hopes of heavnly beams
'Deceitfull wishes big with distant dreams.
'But if our reason purge ye carnal sight,
'& place its objects in their Juster light,
'We change ye side, from Dreams on earth we move,
'& wake through death to rise in life above.
Here ore my soul a solemn silence reigns,
Preparing thought for new celestial strains.
The former vanish off, ye new begin,
The solemn silence stands like night between,
In whose dark bosome day departing lyes,
& day succeeding takes a lovely rise.
But tho' ye song be changd, be still ye flame,
& Still ye prophet in my lines ye Same,
With care renewd upon the children dwell,
Whose sinfull Fathers in the desart fell,
With care renewd (if any care can do)
Ah least they sin & least they perish too.
Go seek for Moses at yon Sacred tent
On which ye Presence makes a bright descent.
Behold ye cloud with radiant glory fair
Like a wreathd pillar curl its gold in air.
Behold it hovering Just above the door,
& Moses meekely kneeling on the floor.
But if the gazing turn thine edge of sight,
& darkness Spring from unsupported light,
Then change ye Sense, be sight in hearing drownd,
While these strange accents from the vision sound.
The time my Servant is approaching nigh
When thou shall't gatherd with thy Fathers ly,
& soon thy nation quite forgetfull grown
Of all the glorys which mine arm has shown,
Shall through my covenant perversely break,
Despise my worship & my name forsake,
By customes conquerd where to rule they go,
& Serving Gods that cant protect ye foe.
Displeasd at this Ile turn my face aside
Till sharp Afflictions rod reduce their pride
Till brought to better mind they seek relief,
by good confessions in the midst of grief.
Then write thy song to stand a witness still
Of favours past & of my future will,
For I their vain conceits before discern,
Then write thy Song which Israels sons shall learn.
As thus ye wondrous voice its charge repeats
The Prophet musing deep within retreats.
He Seems to feel it on a streaming ray
Pierce through ye Soul enlightning all its way.
& much Obedient will & free desire,
& much his Love of Jacobs Seed inspire,
& much O much above ye warmth of those
The Sacred Spirit in his bosome glows,
Majestick Notion Seems Decrees to nod,
& Holy Transport speakes ye words of God.
Returnd at length, the finishd roll he brings,
Enrichd with Strains of past & future things.
The Priests in order to ye tent repair,
The Gatherd Tribes attend their Elders there:
O Sacred Mercys inexhausted Store!
Shall these have warning of their faults before,
Shall these be told ye recompenses due,
Shall Heavn & Earth be calld to witness too!
Then still ye tumult if it will be so,
Its Fear to loose a word lett caution Show,
Lett close Attention in dead calm appear,
& softly softly steal with silence near,
While Moses raisd above ye listning throng,
Pronounces thus in all their ears the Song.
Hear O ye Heav'ns Creations lofty show,
Hear O thou heavn-encompassd Earth below.
As Silver Showrs of gently-dropping rain,
As Honyd Dews distilling on ye plain,
As rain as Dews for tender grass designd,
So shall my speeches sink within ye mind,
So sweetly turn ye Soules enlivening food,
So fill & cherish hopefull seeds of good.
For now my Numbers to the world Abroad,
Will lowdly celebrate ye name of God.
Ascribe thou nation, evry favourd tribe
Excelling greatness to ye Lord ascribe,
The Lord, the Rock on whom we safely trust,
Whose work is perfect, & whose ways are Just,
The Lord whose promise stands for ever true,
The Lord most righteous & most holy too.
Ah worse Election! Ah the bonds of sin!
They chuse themselves to take corruption in.
They stain their soules with vices deepest blots,
When onely frailtys are his childrens spots.
Their thoughts words actions all are run astray,
& none more crooked more perverse than they.
Say rebell Nation O unwisely light,
Say will thy folly thus thy God requite?
Or is He not the God who made thee free,
Whose mercy purchasd & establishd thee?
Remember well ye wondrous days of old,
The years of ages long before thee told,
Ask all thy fathers who the truth will show,
Or ask thine elders for thine elders know.
When ye most high with scepter pointed down
Describd ye Realms of each beginning Crown,
When Adams offspring Providentiall care
to people countrys scatterd here & there,
He so ye limits of their lands confind,
That favourd Israel has its part assignd,
For Israel is ye Lords, & gaines ye place
Reservd for those whom he woud chuse to grace.
Him in ye desart him his mercy found
where famine dwells & howling deafs ye ground,
Where dread is felt by savage noise encreast,
Where solitude erects its seat on wast.
& there he led him, & he taught him there,
& safely kept him with a watchfull care,
The tender apples of our heedfull eye
Not more in guard nor more securely ly.
& as an eagle that attempts to bring
Her unexperiencd young to trust the wing,
Stirrs up her nest, & flutters ore their heads,
& all ye forces of her pinnions spreads,
& takes & bears ym on her plumes above,
To give peculiar proof of royall love,
Twas so ye Lord, the gracious Lord alone,
With kindness most peculiar led his own,
As no strange God concurrd to make him free,
So none had powr to lead him through but he.
To lands excelling lands & planted high
That boast ye kindlyest-influencing sky
He brought, he bore him on ye wings of Grace,
To tast ye plentys of ye grounds encrease,
Sweet-dropping hony from the rocky soil,
from flinty rocks ye smoothly-flowing oyl,
The guilded butter from the stately kine,
The milk with which ye duggs of sheep decline,
The marrow-fatness of the tender lambs,
The bulky breed of Basans goats & rams,
The finest flowry wheat that crowns the plain
Distends its husk & loads the blade with grain,
& still he drank from ripe delicious heaps
Of clusters pressd the purest blood of grapes.
But thou art waxen fatt & kickest now,
O Well-Directed O Jesurun thou.
Thou soon w'ert fatt, thy sides were thickly grown,
Thy fattness deeply coverd evry bone
Then wanton fullness vain oblivion brought,
& God that made & savd thee was forgott,
While Gods of forreign lands & rites abhorrd,
To Jealousys & anger movd ye Lord;
While Gods thy fathers never knew were ownd;
& Hell ev'n Hell with sacrifice attond.
Oh fooles unmindfull whence your orderd frame
& whence your life-infusing spirit came!
Such strange corruptions his revenge provoke,
& thus their fate his indignation spoke.
It is decreed. Ile hide my face & see
When I forsake them what their end shall be.
For they're a froward very froward strain,
That promisd duty but returnd disdain.
In my grievd soul they raise a Jealous flame
By new-namd Gods & onely Gods in name,
They make the burnings of mine anger glow
By guilty vanitys displeasing show:
Ile also teach their Jealousy to frett
At people not formd a people yet,
Ile make their anger vex their inward breast
When such as have not known my laws are blesst.
A fire a fire that nothing can asswage
Is kindled in the fierceness of my rage,
To burn the deeps, consume ye lands increase,
& on the mountains strong foundations seize.
Thick heaps of mischief on their heads I send,
& all mine arrows wingd with fury spend.
Slow-parching dearth & pestilentiall heat,
Shall bring the bitter pangs of lingring fate.
Sharp teeth of beasts shall swift destruction bring,
Dire serpents wound them with invenomd sting,
The sword without & dread within consume
The youth the virgin in their lovely bloom,
Weak tender Infancy by suckling fed,
& helpless age with hoary-frosted head.
I said Ide scatter all the sinfull race,
I said Ide make its meer remembrance cease,
But much I feard the foes unruly pride,
Their glory vaunted & my powr denyd,
While thus they boast, our arm has shown us brave,
& God did nothing, for he could not Save.
So fond their thought, so farr remote of sense,
& blind in every course of Providence.
O knew they rightly where my Judgements tend,
O woud they ponder on their latter end!
Soon woud they find, that when upon ye field
One makes a thousand two ten thousand yield,
The Lord of Hosts has Sold a rebel state,
The Lord inclosd it in ye netts of fate.
For whats anothers rock compard with ours,
Lett them be Judges that have provd their powrs,
That on their own have vainly calld for aid,
While ours to freedome & to glory led.
Their vine may seem indeed to flourish fair,
But yet it grows in Sodoms tainted air,
It sucks corruption from Gomorrahs fields,
Rank Galls for grapes in bitter clusters yields,
& poison sheds for wine, like yt which comes
from asps & Dragons death-infected gums;
& are not these their hatefull sins reveald,
& in my treasures for my Justice seald?
To me the province of revenge belongs,
To me the certain recompense of wrongs,
Their feet shall totter in appointed time,
& threatning danger overtake their crime,
For wingd with featherd hast ye minutes fly,
To bring those things that must afflict them nigh.
The Lord will Judge his own & bring ym low,
& then repent & turn upon ye foe,
& when the Judgements from his own remove,
Will thus the foe convincingly reprove.
Where are ye Gods ye rock to whom in vain
Your offrings have been made your victims slain?
Lett them arise, lett them afford their aid,
& with Protections shield surround your head.
Know then your maker, I the Lord am he,
Nor ever was there any God with me,
& death or life & wounds or health I give,
Nor can another from my powr reprieve.
With Solemn state I lift mine arm on high
Ore ye rich glorys of the lofty sky,
& by my self majestically swear,
I live for ever & for ever there.
If in my rage ye glitt'ring sword I whet,
& sternly sitting take ye Judgement seat,
My Just-awarding sentence dooms my foe,
& vengeance wields ye blade & gives ye blow,
& Deep in flesh ye blade of Fury bites,
& deadly-deep my bearded arrow lightes,
& both grow drunk with blood defild in sin,
When executions of revenge begin.
Then lett his nation in a common voice,
& with his nation lett ye world rejoyce.
For whether God for crimes or tryalls spill
His Servants blood, he will avenge it still.
He'le break ye troops, he'le scatter all afarr
Who vex our realm with desolating warr.
& on ye favourd tribes & on their land
Shed Victorys & peace from Mercys hand.
Here ceasd ye song, & Israel lookd behind
& gazd before with unconfining mind,
& fixd in silence & amazement saw
The strokes of all their state beneath ye law.
Their Recollection does its light present
To show ye mountain blessd with Gods descent,
To show their wandrings, their unfixd abode,
& all their guidance in the desart road.
Then where the beams of Recollection goe
To leave ye fancy dispossessd of show,
The fairer light of Prophecy's begun
Which opening future days supplys their sun.
By such a sun (& fancy needs no more)
They see the coming times & walk ym o're,
& now they gain that rest their travel sought,
Now milk & hony stream along the thought,
Anon they fill their soules, ye blessings cloy,
& God's forgot in full excess of Joy.
& oft they sin, & oft his anger burns
& ev'ry nations made their scourge by turns,
Till oft repenting they convert to God,
& he repenting too destroys the rod.
O nation timely warnd in sacred strain,
O never lett thy Moses sing in vain.
Dare to be good & happiness prolong
Or if thy folly will fullfill the song,
At least be found the seldomer in ill,
& still repent & soon repent thee still.
When such fair paths thou shalt avoid to tread,
Thy blood will rest upon thy sinfull head,
Thy crime by lasting long secure thy foe,
The gracious warning to the Gentiles goe,
& all the world thats calld to witness here
convincd by thine example learn to fear.
The gentil world a mystick Israel grown
Will in thy first condition find their own,
A Gods descent, a Pilgrimage below,
& Promisd rest where living waters flow.
They'le see the pen describe in ev'ry trace,
The frowns of Anger, or the Smiles of Grace,
Why mercy turns aside & leaves to shine,
What cause provokes the Jealousy divine,
Why Justice kindles dire-avenging flames,
What endless powr ye Lifted Arm proclaims,
Why Mercy shines again with chearfull ray,
& Glory double-gilds ye lightsome day.
Tho Nations change & Israels empire dyes,
Yet still ye case which rose before may rise,
Eternall Providence its rule retains,
& still preserves, & still applys ye strains.
Twas such a gift ye Prophets sacred pen
On his departure left ye sons of men.
Thus he, & thus ye Swan her breath resigns
(Within ye beautys of Poetick lines,)
He white with innocence, his figure she,
& both harmonious, but the sweeter he.
Death learns to charm, & while it leads to bliss
Has found a lovely circumstance in this
To suit the meekest turn of easy mind,
& actions chearfull in an air resignd.
Thou flock whom Moses to thy freedome led
How will't thou lay the venerable dead?
Go (if thy Fathers taught a work they knew)
Go build a Pyramid to Glory due,
Square ye broad base, with sloping sides arise,
& lett the point diminish in the skys.
There leave the corps, suspending ore his head
The wand whose motion winds & waves obeyd.
On Sabled Banners to ye sight describe
The painted arms of evry mourning tribe,
& thus may publick grief adorn ye tomb
Deep-streaming downwards through ye vaulted room.
On the black stone a fair inscription raise
That Sums his Government to speak his praise,
& may the style as brightly worth proclaim,
As if Affection with a pointed beam
Engravd or fird ye words, or Honour due
Had with its self inlaid ye tablet through.
But stop ye pomp that is not mans to pay,
For God will grace him in a nobler way.
Mine eyes perceive an orb of heavnly state
With splendid forms & light serene repleat,
I hear the Sound of fluttring wings in air,
I hear the tunefull tongues of Angels there,
They fly, they bear, they rest on Nebo's head,
& in thick glory wrap the rev'rend dead.
This errand crowns his songs, & tends to prove
His near communion with ye quire above.
Now swiftly down the Steepy mount they go,
Now swiftly glides their shining orb below,
& now moves off where rising grounds deny
To spread their vally to the distant eye.
Ye blessd inhabitants of glitt'ring air
You've born ye prophet but we know not where.
Perhaps least Israel overfondly led
In rating worth when envy leaves ye dead,
Might plant a grove, invent new rites divine,
Make him their Idol, & his grave ye shrine.
But what disorder? what repells ye light
& ere its season forces up ye night?
Why sweep the spectres ore ye blasted ground?
What shakes ye mount with hollow-roaring sound?
Hell rolls beneath it, Terrour stalkes before
With shriekes & groans, & Horrour bursts a door,
& Satan rises in infernall state
Drawn up by Malice Envy Rage & Hate.
A darkning Vapour with sulphureous steam,
In pitchy curlings, edgd by sullen flame,
& framd a chariot for ye dreadfull Form,
drives whirling up on mad Confusions storm.
Then fiercely turning where ye Prophet dyd,
Nor shall thy nation scape my wrath he cry'd;
This corps Ile enter & thy flock mislead,
& all thy Miracles my lyes shall aid.
But where?—Hes gon, & by ye scented sky
The fav'rite courtiers have been lately nigh.
O slow to buisness, cursd in mischiefs hour,
Track on their Odours, & if Hell has powr—
This said with spight & with a bent for ill
He shot in fury from ye trembling hill.
In vain Proud Fiend thy threats are half exprest,
& half ly choaking in thy scornfull breast,
His shining bearers have performd ye rite,
& laid him softly down in shades of night.
A Warriour heads ye band, Great Michael he,
Renownd for conquest in ye warr with thee,
A sword of flame to stop thy course he bears,
Nor has thy rage availd, nor can thy snares,
The Lord rebuke thy pride he meekly cryes:
The Lord has heard him & thy project dyes.
Here Moses leaves my song, ye tribes retire,
The desart flyes, & fourty years expire.
& now my fancy for awhile be still,
& think of coming down from Nebo's hill.
Go Search among thy forms, & thence prepare
A cloud in folds of Soft-surrounding air,
Go find a breeze to lift thy cloud on high,
To waft thee gently rockd in open sky,
Then stealing back to leave a silent calm,
& thee reposing in a grove of palm.
The place will suit my next-succeeding strain,
& Ile awake thee soon to sing again.
Empty Space In Our Lives
A Tribute to Elisabeth Sladen 1948-2011
Better known to millions as Sarah Jane Smith from the Doctor Who TV series.
We watch stars rise and then pass away,
people with quality and a twinkle in their eyes,
then suddenly they are gone
leaving an empty space in our lives.
We might never have known them
in a personal sense,
only by their performances
as they moved across the screen.
However, we felt at times
they were our friend,
we listened to the words they spoke,
the cheerfulness in their tone
and their beauty never diminished
during the passing of time.
Then suddenly they are gone
leaving only their image forever
captured in moments on film.
May you rest in peace.
21 April 2011
Eyes Of Warning
The tiger stared with full intent,
With focus, dead ahead,
With firm resolve not to repent,
Despite the sense of dread...
For in the battle he must fight,
Just one would walk away,
So he must move with all his might
Upon this fateful day...
The challenger was also strong,
His courage matched his own
And if they fought the whole day long,
By this, each would be known...
One victor only thus declared,
One victim of his wrath,
To die or live if he were spared,
Perchance to walk it off...
The tiger stared, with warning eyes,
Gave one last chance to run...
Before the wounds, the scars, the sighs,
Before this day was done...
The challenger dismissed the threat,
Two Titans fought head on...
And at the end, while both had bled,
The challenger had gone...
Denis Martindale, copyright, April 2012.
The poem is based on the magnificent painting
by Stephen Gayford called 'Eyes Of Warning'.
More Stephen Gayford poems here:
“The Winds and the Sea Obey Him”
Who once hath heard the sea above her graves
Sing to the stars her requiem, and on whom
Her spell is laid of shoreward-sliding waves,
Alternate gleam and gloom,
In reverent mood and silent, standing where
Her hundred throats their diapason raise,
Hath found the very perfectness of prayer
And plenitude of praise.
Thenceforward is his hope a thing apart
From man’s perplexing dogmas, good or ill;
Deep in the sacred silence of his heart
His faith abideth, still:—
A faith that fails not, steadfast, humble, kind,
Amid a vexing multitude of creeds
That bend and break with every passing wind,
Like tempest-trampled reeds.
The tide of man’s belief may ebb or flow;
Its swift mutations, many though they be,
He heedeth not who once hath come to know
The anthem of the sea.
From sages and their blindly fashioned lore
He turns, to watch with reverential eyes
The seas men fear serve ceaselessly before
The God whom men despise!
Through length of days and year succeeding year
Earth’s strongest power serves Heaven’s still stronger one,
And all the winds, in holy-hearted fear,
To do His bidding run.
Ah, likewise serving, restless hearts, be still,
And learn, like little children, of the way—
Secure in Him, Whose strong enduring will
The winds and sea obey!
The fear of death was in their eyes
The fear of death was in their eyes
waves filled the boat to their surprise.
Then through the storm a voice was heard
the encouraging voice of the Good shepherd.
He'd seen His sheep struggling with their fear
and came to comfort them and to draw near.
They heard Him speak the words 'Fear not'
and amidst the storm their fears forgot.
'If it's You Jesus' Peter said to the Lord
'Bid me come to You, I'll obey your word.'
The command to come he heard from You
Gazing into Your face Peter's faith grew.
Putting his fears to one side courageously
he stepped outside the boat onto the sea.
Then he began to think 'What have I done'
and took his eyes off of God's Only Son.
He saw the wind and waves come crashing down
and became afraid thinking he would drown.
Taking his eyes off the Lord in horror
distracted by the waves and the winds roar.
'Lord save me' Peter cried out in his fear.
Jesus reached out for He was standing near
and then lifted him back inside the boat
back into safety he was kept afloat.
Sailing this earthly sea we experience fears.
The storms of life can bring such tears.
When He calls us to step out of the boat
eyes fixed on Jesus will keep us afloat.
For our hearts of fear the Lord can transform
and by faith in Him we can face the storm.
With are eyes firmly fixed upon the Lord
we can step out of the boat obeying His word.
written after reading Matthew 14: 22-31
When the Great Gray Ships Come In
To eastward ringing, to westward winging, o’er mapless miles of sea,
On winds and tides the gospel rides that the furthermost isles are free,
And the furthermost isles make answer, harbor, and height, and hill,
Breaker and beach cry, each to each, “’Tis the Mother who calls! Be still!”
Mother! new-found, beloved, and strong to hold from harm,
Stretching to these across the seas the shield of her sovereign arm,
Who summoned the guns of her sailor sons, who bade her navies roam,
Who calls again to the leagues of main, and who calls them this time home!
And the great gray ships are silent, and the weary watchers rest;
The black cloud dies in the August skies, and deep in the golden west
Invisible hands are limning a glory of crimson bars,
And far above is the wonder of a myriad wakened stars!
Peace! As the tidings silence the strenuous cannonade,
Peace at last! is the bugle blast the length of the long blockade,
And eyes of vigil weary are lit with the glad release,
From ship to ship and from lip to lip it is “Peace! Thank God for peace.”
Ah, in the sweet hereafter Columbia still shall show
The sons of these who swept the seas how she bade them rise and go,—
How, when the stirring summons smote on her children’s ear,
South and North at the call stood forth, and the whole land answered, “Here!”
For the soul of the soldier’s story and the heart of the sailor’s song
Are all of those who meet their foes as right should meet with wrong,
Who fight their guns till the foeman runs, and then, on the decks they trod,
Brave faces raise, and give the praise to the grace of their country’s God!
Yes, it is good to battle, and good to be strong and free,
To carry the hearts of a people to the uttermost ends of sea,
To see the day steal up the bay where the enemy lies in wait,
To run your ship to the harbor’s lip and sink her across the strait:—
But better the golden evening when the ships round heads for home,
And the long gray miles slip swiftly past in a swirl of seething foam,
And the people wait at the haven’s gate to greet the men who win!
Thank God for peace! Thank God for peace, when the great gray ships come in!
There is a garden where the sun
reflects from rough cast whitewashed walls.
Close by the quiet river runs
here you can hear the soft bird calls.
The scents of lavender and sage,
which grow near to the lilac trees.
Compete with fields of blue borage
ich draw to them the questing bees.
The lawn of moorland turf is neat
and everywhere the flowers bloom.
The honey smell of meadowsweet
is mingling with the perfumed broom.
This garden is a sheltered spot.
Where old and tired from the fray
I sit and doze when it is hot
and ponder in my quiet way.
I think about the things I’ve seen
and well loved people I have known
The many places I have been
in travels ‘fore I was full grown.
My wandering feet have carried me
to distant lands of snow and ice.
Some lands without a single tree
and tropic isles like paradise.
I always yearned to go back home
but there was always more to see
When I was young I had to roam
across the world by land and sea.
My questing mind gave me no peace
hard lessons I was forced to learn.
Wisdom granted me release
a truth I found I had to earn.
The fire of youth burns low with age.
springy step turns to measured tread
I learnt my quest was a mirage
and came back to where I was bred
Although it’s changed it’s still the same.
I see it now through different eyes
and seek no more for fortunes fame.
I realise to my surprise
I need not have travelled at all.
As all the knowledge I’ve obtained
I could have gained within ths walls
of this small garden.Now maintained
by younger men in their full strength.
Who serve me with touching awe
As one who’s seen the breadth and length
Of the whole world.As he sought for
the secrets other lands could show.
Whose been to Canada and Rome.
Seen desert lands and fields of snow
But has returned at last to home.
A field stone house with roof of thatch,
a garden sheltered from the wind.
There was nowhere else could match
the dream he carried in his mind.
Of Applegarth, old Applegarth
a house that’s filled with memories
It’s been his family’s home and hearth
for nigh on seven hundred years.
There’s little left of the wide lands
This proud family used to own
but what there is Is my homeland.
belongs to me and me alone.
This quiet garden in the sun
the Rowan tree that provides shade.
I know my race is nearly run
and wonder if I made the grade.
Each morn I wake and greet the day.
Determined that I will enjoy
Whatever treats may come my way
As carefree as a little boy
The little boy I used to be
Before my wanderlust took hold
and drove me overland and sea.
I only learned as I grew old
That I could live contentedly
at Applegarth and only here.
Where I was always meant to be
a message I was slow to hear.
And The Willows Down By The Banks Of The Tay
And the willows down by the banks of the Tay
whisper through their veils
like ladies of the lake
where autumn walks like fire on the water
or the marriage bed of a Viking funeral ship
as the sun goes down like a ferry
into the underworld of the west
and all these words of passage I say like birds flying
high over head with the souls of the dead
I lay down like swords in tribute to the river
as if I were returning tears to the mirrors they came from.
Maple leaves scratch like the quills of bat-winged scholars
at the parched manuscripts
lying everywhere at my feet
trying to trace their ancestral bloodlines
back through a lineage of zodiacal kings
while the Library of Alexandria burns.
All scholars are arsonists at heart
as flammable as naphtha in birch bark.
If God were to talk to anyone now
right here in Perth Ontario Canada
it would still be through a burning bush
that would sound like the voice
of the phoenix in the sumac.
Mystic immolations of an Arab spring
spreading its wings for a poet or a prophet
to jump up on Pegasus or Buraq
and fly as if you had a star under your saddle
and not a spur or burr of discontent
that makes you feel tongue-twisted and petty
beside abject comparisons with Icarus and Aaron.
Stars soon to add some glamour to the sky
as the willows turn their weeping veils
into the shawls of grieving widows.
I’ve got nothing in particular to cry for
but I admire the eloquence of those
who’ve still got something to lose
like daylilies that can’t afford a face-lift
or the shell of the baby turtle on its back
like the sun disc of a Mayan calendar
that was destroyed by boyish malice
before it could live long enough
to be old enough to be doomed
by its own self-fulfilling prophecy.
Autumn is a seance of long-forgotten fragrances.
Oceanic elixirs and and sad sad wines
trying to keep their chin up
like wild grape vines against the weather
that sends their bruised amphorae to the bottom
with heavy eyelids and tunnel vision.
The air is sweet and thick and pendulous
as a bell in a burning church
that’s been to one too many funerals.
Bring on the night
like the deepest inspiration of the light
in the nightbird’s breast
and let the lost harvests and unfulfilled longings
that stretch for light years out over the abyss
like the strings of a cosmic guitar
or the harp I made from the wishbone
stuck in my throat like a sacred syllable
that goes witching for water on the moon
in the watersheds of my voice.
Bring tears of blood to my eyes
raised up out of the well of my being
and holding my horned skull up to Jupiter in Aries
let me drink to the hidden beauty of the singing
and all those oceanic veils of seeing
that fall away like the eyelids of roses
the starmaps of asters
from a beautiful woman’s face.
Old enough now to celebrate
things I know I’ll never know again.
Young lovers jay walking across a busy street
hand in hand as if
the other were the other’s missing link.
The wide-eyed stargazers
with no scars or bruises on their telescopes
elevated now by their amazement to sidereal heights
who will later be deepened by it
as the darkness grows more sublime than the light
and radiance sways into ripeness
and the candles go out one by one
to clarify the long autumnal way home
like nightwatchmen just before the break of dawn
having done their rounds
sit down at the crossroads
where the celestial equator
intersects the ecliptic at the equinoctial colure
and opening the gates of their lanterns
let the stars and fireflies out of the mason jars
that were the only light they had to go by
that kept the others lit.
Even as the utilitarian chandeliers
of the streetlamps come on
like a constellation of runway suns
that light up in unison at midnight
to give our long departed gods somewhere to land.
On the Paroo
AS WHEN the strong stream of a wintering sea
Rolls round our coast, with bodeful breaks of storm,
And swift salt rain, and bitter wind that saith
Wild things and woeful of the White South Land
Alone with God and silence in the cold—
As when this cometh, men from dripping doors
Look forth, and shudder for the mariners
Abroad, so we for absent brothers looked
In days of drought, and when the flying floods
Swept boundless; roaring down the bald, black plains
Beyond the farthest spur of western hills.
For where the Barwon cuts a rotten land,
Or lies unshaken, like a great blind creek,
Between hot mouldering banks, it came to this,
All in a time of short and thirsty sighs,
That thirty rainless months had left the pools
And grass as dry as ashes: then it was
Our kinsmen started for the lone Paroo,
From point to point, with patient strivings, sheer
Across the horrors of the windless downs,
Blue gleaming like a sea of molten steel.
But never drought had broke them: never flood
Had quenched them: they with mighty youth and health,
And thews and sinews knotted like the trees—
They, like the children of the native woods,
Could stem the strenuous waters, or outlive
The crimson days and dull, dead nights of thirst
Like camels: yet of what avail was strength
Alone to them—though it was like the rocks
On stormy mountains—in the bloody time
When fierce sleep caught them in the camps at rest,
And violent darkness gripped the life in them
And whelmed them, as an eagle unawares
Is whelmed and slaughtered in a sudden snare.
All murdered by the blacks; smit while they lay
In silver dreams, and with the far, faint fall
Of many waters breaking on their sleep!
Yea, in the tracts unknown of any man
Save savages—the dim-discovered ways
Of footless silence or unhappy winds—
The wild men came upon them, like a fire
Of desert thunder; and the fine, firm lips
That touched a mother’s lips a year before,
And hands that knew a dearer hand than life,
Were hewn—a sacrifice before the stars,
And left with hooting owls and blowing clouds,
And falling leaves and solitary wings!
Aye, you may see their graves—you who have toiled
And tripped and thirsted, like these men of ours;
For, verily, I say that not so deep
Their bones are that the scattered drift and dust
Of gusty days will never leave them bare.
O dear, dead, bleaching bones! I know of those
Who have the wild, strong will to go and sit
Outside all things with you, and keep the ways
Aloof from bats, and snakes, and trampling feet
That smite your peace and theirs—who have the heart,
Without the lusty limbs, to face the fire
And moonless midnights, and to be, indeed,
For very sorrow, like a moaning wind
In wintry forests with perpetual rain.
Because of this—because of sisters left
With desperate purpose and dishevelled hair,
And broken breath, and sweetness quenched in tears—
Because of swifter silver for the head,
And furrows for the face—because of these
That should have come with age, that come with pain—
O Master! Father! sitting where our eyes
Are tired of looking, say for once are we—
Are we to set our lips with weary smiles
Before the bitterness of Life and Death,
And call it honey, while we bear away
A taste like wormwood?
Turn thyself, and sing—
Sing, Son of Sorrow! Is there any gain
For breaking of the loins, for melting eyes,
And knees as weak as water?—any peace,
Or hope for casual breath and labouring lips,
For clapping of the palms, and sharper sighs
Than frost; or any light to come for those
Who stand and mumble in the alien streets
With heads as grey as Winter?—any balm
For pleading women, and the love that knows
Of nothing left to love?
They sleep a sleep
Unknown of dreams, these darling friends of ours.
And we who taste the core of many tales
Of tribulation—we whose lives are salt
With tears indeed—we therefore hide our eyes
And weep in secret, lest our grief should risk
The rest that hath no hurt from daily racks
Of fiery clouds and immemorial rains.
Where wail the waters in their flaw
A spectre wanders to and fro,
And evermore that ghostly shore
Bemoans the heir of Yvytot.
Sometimes, when, like a fleecy pall,
The mists upon the waters fall,
Across the main float shadows twain
That do not heed the spectre's call.
The king his son of Yvytot
Stood once and saw the waters go
Boiling around with hissing sound
The sullen phantom rocks below.
And suddenly he saw a face
Lift from that black and seething place--
Lift up and gaze in mute amaze
And tenderly a little space,
A mighty cry of love made he--
No answering word to him gave she,
But looked, and then sunk back again
Into the dark and depthless sea.
And ever afterward that face,
That he beheld such little space,
Like wraith would rise within his eyes
And in his heart find biding place.
So oft from castle hall he crept
Where mid the rocks grim shadows slept,
And where the mist reached down and kissed
The waters as they wailed and wept.
The king it was of Yvytot
That vaunted, many years ago,
There was no coast his valiant host
Had not subdued with spear and bow.
For once to him the sea-king cried:
"In safety all thy ships shall ride
An thou but swear thy princely heir
Shall take my daughter to his bride.
"And lo, these winds that rove the sea
Unto our pact shall witness be,
And of the oath which binds us both
Shall be the judge 'twixt me and thee!"
Then swore the king of Yvytot
Unto the sea-king years ago,
And with great cheer for many a year
His ships went harrying to and fro.
Unto this mighty king his throne
Was born a prince, and one alone--
Fairer than he in form and blee
And knightly grace was never known.
But once he saw a maiden face
Lift from a haunted ocean place--
Lift up and gaze in mute amaze
And tenderly a little space.
Wroth was the king of Yvytot,
For that his son would never go
Sailing the sea, but liefer be
Where wailed the waters in their flow,
Where winds in clamorous anger swept,
Where to and fro grim shadows crept,
And where the mist reached down and kissed
The waters as they wailed and wept.
So sped the years, till came a day
The haughty king was old and gray,
And in his hold were spoils untold
That he had wrenched from Norroway.
Then once again the sea-king cried:
"Thy ships have harried far and wide;
My part is done--now let thy son
Require my daughter to his bride!"
Loud laughed the king of Yvytot,
And by his soul he bade him no--
"I heed no more what oath I swore,
For I was mad to bargain so!"
Then spake the sea-king in his wrath:
"Thy ships lie broken in my path!
Go now and wring thy hands, false king!
Nor ship nor heir thy kingdom hath!
"And thou shalt wander evermore
All up and down this ghostly shore,
And call in vain upon the twain
That keep what oath a dastard swore!"
The king his son of Yvytot
Stood even then where to and fro
The breakers swelled--and there beheld
A maiden face lift from below.
"Be thou or truth or dream," he cried,
"Or spirit of the restless tide,
It booteth not to me, God wot!
But I would have thee to my bride."
Then spake the maiden: "Come with me
Unto a palace in the sea,
For there my sire in kingly ire
Requires thy king his oath of thee!"
Gayly he fared him down the sands
And took the maiden's outstretched hands;
And so went they upon their way
To do the sea-king his commands.
The winds went riding to and fro
And scourged the waves that crouched below,
And bade them sing to a childless king
The bridal song of Yvytot.
So fell the curse upon that shore,
And hopeless wailing evermore
Was the righteous dole of the craven soul
That heeded not what oath he swore.
An hundred ships went down that day
All off the coast of Norroway,
And the ruthless sea made mighty glee
Over the spoil that drifting lay.
The winds went calling far and wide
To the dead that tossed in the mocking tide:
"Come forth, ye slaves! from your fleeting graves
And drink a health to your prince his bride!"
Where wail the waters in their flow
A spectre wanders to and fro,
But nevermore that ghostly shore
Shall claim the heir of Yvytot.
Sometimes, when, like a fleecy pall,
The mists upon the waters fall,
Across the main flit shadows twain
That do not heed the spectre's call.