Like widths of blowing ocean wet with spray,
Like breath of early blooms at morning caught,
Like cool airs on the cheek of heated day,
Come the fair emanations of her thought.
Her movement, like the curving of a vine,
Seems an unerring accident of grace,
And like a flower’s the subtle change and shine
And meaning of her brightly tranquil face.
And like a tree, unconscious of her shade,
She spreads her helpful branches everywhere
For wandering bird or bee, nor is afraid
Too many guests shall crowd to harbor there.
For she is kinder than all others are,
And weak things, sad things, gather where she dwells,
To reach and taste her strength and drink of her,
As thirsty creatures of clear water-wells.
Why vex with words where words are poor and
In one brief sentence lies the riddle’s key,
Which those who love her read and read again,
Finding each time new meanings: She is she!
If I were told that I must die to-morrow,
That the next sun
Which sinks should bear me past all fear and sorrow
For any one,
All the fight fought, all the short journey through:
What should I do?
I do not think that I should shrink
But just go on,
Doing my work, nor change, nor seek to alter
Aught that is gone;
But rise and move and love and smile and pray
For one more day.
And, lying down at night for a last
Say in that ear
Which hearkens ever: “Lord, within Thy keeping
How should I fear?
And when to-morrow brings Thee nearer still.
Do Thou Thy will.”
I might not sleep for awe; but peaceful,
My soul would lie
All the night long; and when the morning splendor
Flashed o’er the sky,
I think that I could smile—could calmly say,
“It is His day.”
But, if instead a hand from the blue
Held out a scroll,
On which my life was, writ, and I with wonder
To a long century’s end its mystic clew,
What should I do?
What could I do, O blessed Guide
Other than this:
Still to go on as now, not slower, faster,
Nor fear to miss
The road, although so very long it be,
While led by Thee?
Step after step, feeling Thee close
Through thorns, through flowers, whether the tempest hide Thee,
Or heavens serene,
Assured Thy faithfulness cannot betray,
Thy love decay.
I may not know, my God; no hand revealeth
Thy counsels wise;
Along the path a deepening shadow stealeth,
No voice replies
To all my questioning thought, the time to tell,
And it is well.
Let me keep on, abiding and unfearing
Thy will always,
Through a long century’s ripening fruition,
Or a short day’s.
Thou canst not come too soon; and I can wait
If thou come late.