Peace And Pain

THE day and night are symbols of creation,
And each has part in all that God has made;
There is no ill without its compensation,
And life and death are only light and shade.
There never beat a heart so base and sordid
But felt at times a sympathetic glow;
There never lived a virtue unrewarded,
Nor died a vice without its meed of woe.

In this brief life despair should never reach us;
The sea looks wide because the shores are dim;
The star that led the Magi still can teach us
The way to go if we but look to Him.
And as we wade, the darkness closing o'er us,
The hungry waters surging to the chin,
Our deeds will rise like stepping-stones before us—
The good and bad—for we may use the sin.

A sin of youth, atoned for and forgiven,
Takes on a virtue, if we choose to find:
When clouds across our onward path are driven,
We still may steer by its pale light behind.
A sin forgotten is in part to pay for,
A sin remembered is a constant gain:
Sorrow, next joy, is what we ought to pray for,
As next to peace we profit most from pain.

by John Boyle O'Reilly

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