A Death blow is a Life blow to Some
Who till they died, did not alive become—
Who had they lived, had died but when
They died, Vitality begun.
My Worthiness is all my Doubt—
His Merit—all my fear—
Contrasting which, my quality
Lest I should insufficient prove
For His beloved Need—
The Chiefest Apprehension
Upon my thronging Mind—
’Tis true—that Deity to stoop
For nothing higher than Itself
Itself can rest upon—
So I—the undivine abode
Of His Elect Content—
Conform my Soul—as ’twere a Church,
Unto Her Sacrament—
He found my Being’set it up’
Adjusted it to place’
Then carved his name’upon it’
And bade it to the East
Be faithful’in his absence’
And he would come again’
With Equipage of Amber’
That time’to take it Home’
A little East of Jordan,
A Gymnast and an Angel
Did wrestle long and hard—
Till morning touching mountain—
And Jacob, waxing strong,
The Angel begged permission
To Breakfast—to return—
Not so, said cunning Jacob!
“I will not let thee go
Except thou bless me”—Stranger!
The which acceded to—
Light swung the silver fleeces
“Peniel” Hills beyond,
And the bewildered Gymnast
Found he had worsted God!
Part One: Life
OUR share of night to bear,
Our share of morning,
Our blank in bliss to fill,
Our blank in scorning.
Here a star, and there a star,
Some lose their way.
Here a mist, and there a mist,
She died’this was the way she died.
And when her breath was done
Took up her simple wardrobe
And started for the sun.
Her little figure at the gate
The Angels must have spied,
Since I could never find her
Upon the mortal side.
Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,
Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine!
Oh the Earth was made for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain,
For sighing, and gentle whispering, and unity made of twain.
All things do go a courting, in earth, or sea, or air,
God hath made nothing single but thee in His world so fair!
The bride, and then the bridegroom, the two, and then the one,
Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun;
The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be,
Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree.
The high do seek the lowly, the great do seek the small,
None cannot find who seeketh, on this terrestrial ball;
The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives,
And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves;
The wind doth woo the branches, the branches they are won,
And the father fond demandeth the maiden for his son.
The storm doth walk the seashore humming a mournful tune,
The wave with eye so pensive, looketh to see the moon,
Their spirits meet together, they make their solemn vows,
No more he singeth mournful, her sadness she doth lose.
The worm doth woo the mortal, death claims a living bride,
Night unto day is married, morn unto eventide;
Earth is a merry damsel, and heaven a knight so true,
And Earth is quite coquettish, and beseemeth in vain to sue.
Now to the application, to the reading of the roll,
To bringing thee to justice, and marshalling thy soul:
Thou art a human solo, a being cold, and lone,
Wilt have no kind companion, thou reap’st what thou hast sown.
Hast never silent hours, and minutes all too long,
And a deal of sad reflection, and wailing instead of song?
There’s Sarah, and Eliza, and Emeline so fair,
And Harriet, and Susan, and she with curling hair!
Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see
Six true, and comely maidens sitting upon the tree;
Approach that tree with caution, then up it boldly climb,
And seize the one thou lovest, nor care for space, or time!
Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower,
And give her what she asketh, jewel, or bird, or flower—
And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum—
And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home!
There is no Silence in the Earth - so silent
As that endured
Which uttered, would discourage Nature
And haunt the World.
It sifts from Leaden Sieves—
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road—
It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain—
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again—
It reaches to the Fence—
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces—
It deals Celestial Vail
To Stump, and Stack—and Stem—
A Summer’s empty Room—
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them—
It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen—
Then stills its Artisans—like Ghosts—
Denying they have been—
I years had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before
Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business,—just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?
I fumbled at my nerve,
I scanned the windows near;
The silence like an ocean rolled,
And broke against my ear.
I laughed a wooden laugh
That I could fear a door,
Who danger and the dead had faced,
But never quaked before.
I fitted to the latch
My hand, with trembling care,
Lest back the awful door should spring,
And leave me standing there.
I moved my fingers off
As cautiously as glass,
And held my ears, and like a thief
Fled gasping from the house.
From Blank to Blank—
A Threadless Way
I pushed Mechanic feet—
To stop—or perish—or advance—
If end I gained
It ends beyond
I shut my eyes—and groped as well
’Twas lighter—to be Blind—
This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond—
Invisible, as Music—
But positive, as Sound—
It beckons, and it baffles—
And through a Riddle, at the last—
Sagacity, must go—
To guess it, puzzles scholars—
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown—
Faith slips—and laughs, and rallies—
Blushes, if any see—
Plucks at a twig of Evidence—
And asks a Vane, the way—
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit—
Strong Hallelujahs roll—
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul—