A Mystery Play
The Father. The Child. Death. Angels. Two Travellers.
The even settles still and deep,
In the cold sky the last gold burns,
Across the colour snowflakes creep.
Each one from grey to glory turns
Then flutters into nothingness;
The frost down falls with mighty stress
Through the swift cloud that parts on high;
The great stars shrivel into less
In the hard depth of the iron sky.
What is that light, dear father,
That light in the dark, dark sky?
Those are the lights of the city
And the villages thereby.
There must be fire in the city
To throw that yellow glare;
And fire in the little villages
On all the hearthstones there.
The Father, musing:
Yea, flames are on the hearthstones;
The ovens are full of bread,
BuThere the coals are dying
And the flames are dead.
What is the cold, dear father?
It stings like an angry bee.
Wherever it stings my hand turns white,
The cold is a beast, my dear one,
With his paws he tears at the thatch,
His breath is a curse and a warning,
You can see it creep on the latch.
If 'tis a wolf, dear father,
That lies with his paw on the floor,
Let us heat the spade in the embers
And drive him away from the door.
God is the power of growth,
In the snail and the tree,
God is the power of growth
In the heart of the man.
Did you noThear the singing,
Mother's voice and Ruth's voice,
Voices of the dead.
The Father, musing:
Our Ruth died in the springtime,
With the spade I turned the sod,
We buried her by the brier rose,
Her life is hid with God.
All summer long in the garden
No roses came to the tree.
Father, was it for sorrow,
Sorrow for thee and me?
Roses grew in the garden,
I saw them at morning and even,
Shadows of earthly roses
They bloomed for fingers in heaven.
The air is very clear and still,
The moonlight falls from half the sphere;
The shadow from the silver hill
Fills half the vale, and half is clear
As the moon's self with cloudless snow;
By the dead stream the alders throw
Their shadows, shot with tingling spars;
On the sheer height the elm trees glow:
Their tops are tangled with the stars.
Father, the coals are dying,
See! I have heated the spade,
Let me throw the door wide open,
I will not be afraid.
Let me kiss you once on the forehead,
And once on your darling eyes;
We may see them both at the dawning,
In the dales of Paradise.
And if I only see them,
I will tell them how you smiled;
For the wolf, you know, is angry,
And I am a little child.
I give thee peace,
For a world of dread —
For desperate toil —
Thou who didst say,
When the waters of poverty
Waxed deep, deep,
What we bear is best;
I give thee sleep.
Keep up your spirits, I know
There's a cabin under the hill,
The fellow will make a roaring fire;
We'll heat our hands and drink our fill
And go warm to our heart's desire!
The door is open, — Heigho!
This pair will claim neither crown nor groat,
The man has gripped his garden spade
As if he would dig his grave in the snow;
The boy has the face of a saint, I trow;
His brow says, " I was not afraid! "
Ah well, these things must be, you know!
Gather your sables around your throat;
Give us that story about the monk,
His niece, and the wandering conjurer,
Just to keep our blood astir.
The heart of God,
The worlds and man,
Are fashioned and moulded,
In a subtle plan;
Sweeps far but converges;
Nothing is lost,
Sod or stone,
But comes to its own;
Bear well thy joy,
'Tis mixed with alloy,
Bear well thy grief,
'Tis a rich full sheaf:
Gather the souls that have passed in the night,
Theirs is the peace and the light.
The moon is gone, the dawning brings
A deeper dark with silver blent,
Above the wells where, myriad, springs
Light from the crimson orient;
The elms are born, the shadows creep,
Tremble and melt away — one sweep
The great soft color floods and flows,
Where under snow the roses sleep;
The morn has turned the snow to rose.
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