Posts Tagged ‘father’

My little Son, who look’d from thoughtful eyes
And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobey’d,
I struck him, and dismiss’d
With hard words and unkiss’d,
—His Mother, who was patient, being dead.
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep,
I visited his bed,
But found him slumbering deep,
With darken’d eyelids, and their lashes yet
From his late sobbing wet.
And I, with moan,
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters and a red-vein’d stone,
A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I pray’d
To God, I wept, and said:
Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd breath,
Not vexing Thee in death,
And Thou rememberest of what toys
We made our joys,
How weakly understood
Thy great commanded good,
Then, fatherly not less
Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay,
Thou’lt leave Thy wrath, and say,
‘I will be sorry for their childishness.’


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“Curse thee, Life, I will live with thee no more!
Thou hast mocked me, starved me, beat my body sore!
And all for a pledge that was not pledged by me,
I have kissed thy crust and eaten sparingly
That I might eat again, and met thy sneers
With deprecations, and thy blows with tears, –
Aye, from thy glutted lash, glad, crawled away,
As if spent passion were a holiday!
And now I go.  Nor threat, nor easy vow
Of tardy kindness can avail thee now
With me, whence fear and faith alike are flown;
Lonely I came, and I depart alone.
And know not where nor unto whom I go;
But that thou canst not follow me I know.”

Thus I to Life, and ceased; but through my brain
My thought ran still, until I spake again:

“Ah, but I go not as I came, no trace
Is mine to bear away of that old grace
I brought! I have been heated in thy fires,
Bent by thy hands, fashioned to thy desires,
Thy mark is on me! I am not the same
Nor ever more shall be, as when I came.
Ashes am I of all that once I seemed.
In me all’s sunk that leapt, and all that dreamed
Is wakeful for alarm, – oh, shame to thee,
For the ill change that thou has wrought in me
Who laugh no more not lift my throat to sing!
Ah, Life, I would have been a pleasant thing
To have about the house where I was grown
If thou hadst left my little joys alone!
I asked of thee no favour save this one:
That thou wouldst leave me playing in the sun!
And this thou didst deny, calling my name
Insistently, until I rose and came.
I saw the sun no more. – It were not well
So long on these unpleasant thoughts to dwell,
Need I arise tomorrow and renew
Again my hated tasks, but I am through
With all things save my thoughts and this one night;
So that in truth I seem already quite
Free and remote from thee, – I feel no haste
And no reluctance to depart; I taste
Merely, with thoughtful mien, an unknown draught,
That in a little while I shall have quaffed.”

Thus I to Life, and ceased, and slightly smiled,
Looking at nothing; and my thin dreams filed
Before me one by one till once again
I set new words unto an old refrain:

“Treasures thou hast that never have been mine!
Warm lights in many a secret chamber shine
Of thy gaunt house, and gusts of song have blown
Like blossoms out to me that sat alone!
And I have waited well for thee to show
If any share were mine, – and now I go!
Nothing I leave, and if naught attain
I shall but come into mine own again!”

Thus I to Life, and ceased, and spake no more,
But turning, straightway sought a certain door
In the rear wall.  Heavy it was, and low
And dark, – a way by which none e’er would go
That other exit had, and never knock
Was heard thereat, – bearing a curious lock,
Some chance had shown me fashioned faultily,
Whereof Life held content the useless key:
And great coarse hinges, thick and rough with rust,
Whose sudden voice across a silence must,
I knew, by harsh and horrible to hear, –
A strange door, ugly like a dwarf. – So near
I came I felt upon my feet the chill
Of acid wind creeping across the sill.
So stood longtime, till over me at last
Came weariness, and all things other passed
To make it room; the still night drifted deep
Like snow about me, and I longed for sleep.

But, suddenly, marking the morning hour,
Bayed the deep-throated bell within the tower!
Startled, I raised my head, – and with a shout
Laid hold upon the latch, – and was without.

Ah, long-forgotten, well-remembered road,
Leading me back unto my old abode,
My Father’s house! There in the night I came,
And found them feasting, and all things the same
As they had been before.  A splendour hung
Upon the walls, and such sweet songs were sung
As, echoing out of very long ago,
Had called me from the house of Life, I know.
So fair their raiment shone I looked in shame
On the unlovely garb in which I came;
Then straightway at my hesitancy mocked:
“It is my Father’s house!” I said and knocked;
And the door opened.  To the shining crowd
Tattered and dark I entered, like a cloud,
Seeing no face but His; to Him I crept,
And “father!” I cried, and clasped His knees, and wept.

Ah, days of joy that followed! All alone
I wandered through the house.  My own, my own,
My own to touch, my own to taste and smell,
All I had lacked so long and loved so well!
None shook me out of sleep, nor hushed my song,
Nor called me in from the sunlight all day long.

I know not when the wonder came to me
Of what my Father’s business might be,
And wither fared and on what errands bent
The tall and gracious messengers He sent.
Yet one day with no song from dawn till night
Wondering, I sat, and watched them out of sight.
And the next day I called; and on the third
Asked them if I might go, – but no one heard.
Then, sick with longing, I arose at last
And went unto my Father, – in that vast
Chamber wherein He for so many years
Has sat, surrounded by His charts and spheres.
“Father,” I said, “Father, I cannot play
The harp that Thou didst give me, and all day
I sit in idleness, while to and fro
About me Thy serene, grave servants go;
And I am weary of my lonely ease.
Better a perilous journey overseas
Away from Thee, than this, the life I lead,
To sit in the sunshine like a weed
That grows to naught, – I love Thee more than they
Who serve Thee most; yet serve Thee in now way.
Father, I beg of Thee a little task
To dignify my days, – ’tis all I ask
Forever, but forever, this denied,
I perish.”
……………“Child,” my Father’s voice replied,
“All things thy fancy hath desired of me
Thou hast received.  I have prepared for thee
Within my house a spacious chamber, where
Are delicate things to handle and to wear,
And all these things are thine.  Dost thou love song?
My minstrels shall attend thee all day long.
Or sigh for flowers? My fairest gardens stand
Open as fields to thee on every hand.
And all thy days this word shall hold the same:
No pleasure shalt thou lack that thou shalt name.
But as for tasks -” He smiled, and shook His head;
“Thou hadst thy task, and laidst it by,” He said.

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Another year is dawning,
Dear Father let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with thee.

Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness,
The glory of thy face.

Another year of leaning
Upon thy loving breast,
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service,
Of witness for thy love,
Another year of training
For holier work above.

Another year is dawning,
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth, or else in heaven,
Another year for thee.


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Rip Van Winkle Illustration by NC Wyeth

     From Womb To Womb

My grand granddaughter sleeps a lot;
   She’s waking to the world,
Like Rip Van Winkle must have stretched
   When consciousness was swirled.

My old old father sleeps a lot,
   Retreating from the world.
I visit, finding him asleep
   In chair, or in bed, curled.

And so it seems, at the extremes
   Of life upon the earth,
There is a differing sameness
   In exit and in birth.


image of Rip Van Winkle via Wikipedia


© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2012.

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