Night And Morning

Was it a lie that they told me,
Was it a pitiless hoax?
A sop for my soul and its longing
Only to cozen and coax?
And a voice came down through the night and rain:
'They lied; thou has trusted in vain.'

Must I vanish off-hand into darkness,
Blown out with a breath like a lamp?
Have I nought in the future to look to
Save rotting in darkness and damp?
And the answer came with a mocking hiss:
'Thou hast nothing to look to save this.'

What of the grave and its conquest,
Of death and the loss of its sting?
Was it only the brag of a madman
Who believed an impossible thing?
And the voice returned, as the voice of a ghost:
'It was but a madman's boast.'

Am I the serf of my senses?
Is my soul a slave without rights?
Are feeding and breeding and sleeping
My first and truest delights?
And the cruel answer cut me afresh:
'Thou art but the serf of thy flesh.'

Is it all for nought that I travail,
That I long for leisure from sin,
That I thirst for the pure and the perfect,
And feel like a god within?
The voice replied to my passionate thought:
'Thy longing and travail is nought.'

Then I bowed my head in anguish,
Folding my face in my hands,
And I shuddered as one that sinketh
In the clutch of quaking sands.
And I stared, as I clinched my fingers tight,
Out through the black, black night.

For life was shorn of its meaning,
And I cried: 'O God, is it so?
Utter the truth though it slay me,
Utter it, yes or no!'
But I heard no answer to heal my pain,
Save the bluster of wind and rain.

And behold, as I sat in my sorrow,
A quick ray shot from the east,
Another and then another,
And I knew that the night had ceased.
And the dark clouds rolled away to the west
As the great sun rose from his rest.

And now, as the fair dawn broadened,
Strong and joyous and bright,
My whole soul swept to meet it,
Rapt with a deep delight:
And a new voice rang from the radiant skies:
'Rejoice; I have heard thee. Arise.'

by Anonymous Americas

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