“And the Rains descended and the floods came.”
Now the far waves roll nearer and more near,
The wind’s awake, the pitiless wind’s awake,
It shrieks the menace that I dare not hear,
Soon at my feet the angry waves will break
In desolating wrath—and here I stand
Helpless my house is built upon the sand.
O you, whose house upon a rock is set,
Laugh, safe and sure, at threatening wave and wind.
You chose the better part and yet—and yet,
There was no other ground that I could find,
And I was weary and I longed to raise
A house to guard my shivering nights and days.
And it was pleasant in the house I made,
While still the floods and winds were held asleep.
I blessed it at the dawn, at night I prayed
As though its dear foundations had been deep
Sunk in the rock. I whispered in surmise,
“What if winds never wake, floods never rise?”
And now the waves are near and very near,
And here I wait and wonder which may be
The wave in which my house will disappear,
My little house that loved and sheltered me,
Where joy still sings, her garland in her hand,
Built on the sand, oh God, built on the sand!
I had a star to sing by, a beautiful star that
But when I sang of its splendour the world in its wisdom said:
“Sweet are your songs, yet the singer sings but in madness when
He hymns but stars unbeholden of us his fellows of men;
Glow-worms we see and marshlights; sing us sweet songs of those
For the guerdons we have to give you, laurel and gold and rose;
Or if you must sing of stars, unseen of your brother man,
Go, starve with your eyes on your vision; your star may save if it can!”
So I said, “If I starve and die I never again
The glory, the high white radiance that hallows the world for me;
I will sing their songs, if it must be, and when I have golden store,
I will turn from the marsh and the glow-worms, and sing of my star once more.”
So I walked in the warm wet by-ways, not daring to lift my eyes
Lest love should drive me to singing my star supreme in the skies,
And the world cried out, “We will crown him, he sings of the lights that are,
Glories of marshlight and glow-worms, not visions vain of a star!”
I said, “Now my brows are laurelled, my hands
filled full of their gold,
I will sing the starry songs that these earthworms bade withhold.
It is time to sing of my star!” for I dreamed that my star still shone,
Then I lifted my eyes in my triumph. Night! night! and my star was gone.
THE PRODIGAL SON.
Come home, come home, for your eyes are sore
With the glare of the noonday sun,
And nothing looks as it did before,
And the best of the day is done.