The Wind At Night
O SUDDEN blast, that through this silence black
Sweeps past my windows,
Coming and going with invisible track
As death or sin does,--
Why scare me, lying sick, and, save thy own,
Hearing no voices?
Why mingle with a helpless human moan
Thy mad rejoices?
Why not come gently, as good angels come
To souls departing,
Floating among the shadows of the room
With eyes light-darting,
Bringing faint airs of balm that seem to rouse
Thoughts of a Far Land,
Then binding softly upon weary brows
O fearful blast, I shudder at thy sound,
Like heathen mortal
Who saw the Three that mark life's doomèd bound
Sit at his portal.
Thou mightst be laden with sad, shrieking souls,
From their known earth to the unknown stream that rolls
All anguish stilling.
Fierce wind, will the Death-angel come like thee,
Soon, soon to bear me
--Whither? what mysteries may unfold to me,
What terrors scare me?
Shall I go wand'ring on through empty space
As on earth, lonely?
Or seek through myriad spirit-ranks one face,
And miss that only?
Shall I not then drop down from sphere to sphere
Palsied and aimless?
Or will my being change so that both fear
And grief die nameless?
Rather I pray Him who Himself is Love,
Out of whose essence
We all do spring, and towards him tending, move
Back to His presence,
That even His brightness may not quite efface
The soul's earth-features,
That the dear human likeness each may trace
That we may not cease loving, only taught
More faith, more patience; with more wisdom fraught,
That we may do all work we left undone
From height to height celestial passing on
Towards full completeness.
Then, strong Azrael, be thy supreme call
Soft as spring-breezes,
Or like this blast, whose loud fiend-festival
My heart's blood freezes.
I will not fear thee. If thou safely keep
My soul, God's giving,
And my soul's soul, I, wakening from death-sleep,
Shall first know living.