So chained in sense and limb,
All blind with sun,
We stood and tasted the joy
Of our vanished one;
And we took no note of time,
Till soon or late
The gentle angel sighed,
And shut the gate.
The vision is closed and sealed.
We are come back
To the old, accustomed earth,
The well-worn track,—
Back to the daily toil,
The daily pain,—
But we never can be the same,
We who have bathed in noon,
All radiant white,
Shall we come back content
To sit in night?
Content with self and sin,
The stain, the blot?
To have stood so near the gate
And enter not?
O glimpse so swift, so sweet,
So soon withdrawn!
Stay with us; light our dusks
Till day shall dawn;
Until the shadows flee,
And to our view
Again the gate unbars,
And we pass through.
After the earthquake shock or lightning dart
Comes a recoil of silence o’er the lands,
And then, with pulses hot and quivering hands,
Earth calls up courage to her mighty heart,
Plies every tender, compensating art,
Draws her green, flowery veil above the scar,
Fills the shrunk hollow, smooths the riven plain,
And with a century’s tendance heals again
The seams and gashes which her fairness mar.
So we, when sudden woe like lightning sped,
Finds us and smites us in our guarded place,
After one brief, bewildered moment’s space,
By the same heavenly instinct taught and led,
Adjust our lives to loss, make friends with pain,
Bind all our shattered hopes and bid them bloom again.
AT THE GATE
“For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Thy kingdom here?
Lord, can it be?
Searching and seeking everywhere
For many a year,
“Thy kingdom come” has been my prayer.
Was that dear kingdom all the while so near?
Blinded and dull
With selfish sin,
Have I been sitting at the gates
Where Thy fair angel stands and waits,
With hand upon the lock to let me in?
Was I the wall
Which barred the way,
Darkening the glory of Thy grace,
Hiding the ray
Which, shining out as from Thy very face,
Had shown to other men the perfect day?
Was I the bar
Which shut me out
From the full joyance which they taste
Whose spirits are
Within Thy Paradise embraced,—
Thy blessed Paradise, which seemed so far?
The vision swells:
I seem to catch
Celestial breezes, rustling low,
Where, singing softly ever to and fro,
Moves each fair saint who in Thy presence dwells.