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Eternal night and solitude of space;Breath as of vapour crimsoning to flame;Far constellations moving in the sameInvariable order and the paceThat times the sun, or earth's elliptic raceAmong the planets: Life--dumb, blind and lame--Creeping from form to form, until her shameBlends with the beauty of a human face!

Death can not claim what Life so hardly wonOut of her ancient warfare with the Void--O Man! whose day is only now begun,Go forth with her and do what she hath done;Till thy last enemy--Death--be destroyed,And earth outshine the splendour of the sun. ----------------------------------------------

Alfred, I am a withered leaf--a twigDry of the sap; yet how I love the picture!Is heaven less blue because the stellar dustVeils night eternal from all human eyes?Life is, though forms pass: well, I will regardOne moment filled with wonder of the world,Forever worth the passing, when this jarCrumbles! ... Why do you nod in protest, friend?I am serene and patient, grateful, glad--Asking no more of life than what it gives:Eyes quick to see the march out of the mist,And into mist once more; ears that are tunedTo music of the many strings of joyAnd sorrow; tongue so wistful of the wordTelling the truth; obedient hands and feet;And over all, the mind with wings that soar!I trust, ask nothing, watch meanwhile, and wait;Whatever is for me to win, no oneCan take: if there be not some afterword,Some music and a flower from the feast,A going up the hall with Him, my Host,In conversation as of comrades--well,Enough that I was called to sup with Him,Drank from His cup and pledged the world with wine!

My fundamentals are misunderstood--Is the fault mine? 'Tis not a ready penThat wrote The Origin. The many reedsOf melody were never mine; I sawMore than I had the skill to tell, confusedThe music. This my meaning: Chaos bearsTo that eternal Energy called God,A child whose name is Form, swaddled with clouds,"And with no language but a cry!"--the noiseOf thunder, telling of vast, molten seasWhich clamour, till the child becomes a star--This planet--swinging through the zodiacAmong his brethren who come, crying: Hail,Child of our mother Chaos! From the seaHuge shapes appear, plunging to rocky shoresForbidding them the land, till tail and finBy aspiration change to foot and wing.Hoarse trumpetings of anger or of pain;Red ooze of blood on bracken; now tell the tale:Struggle of Form with Form--experimentOf Nature working blindly but in faithTo one end: Mind! Love dominates the chords;There is a song upon the star-lit hills:GLORY TO GOD! ON EARTH, PEACE AND GOOD WILL!

Brave are your words of war; and yet I thinkSurvival of the worst, not best, is inThose passioned hymns of praise: war's work was done,Through struggle of the fittest brute, when FormWas found for Mind. You say that always warGenders the noblest? calls a god from clay?That work was done before the glacial glareRivalled the redness of yon setting sun!You are at odds with Nature, who destroyMan's body. Is there not some higher testOf greatness in the patience of that faithWhich dares adventure on forgotten roads,Or hidden trails unfound by human feet,To find God cradled where the cattle are?Must we who sought and found, go lonely backWithout Love's offering of gold and myrrh--Back to the place we knew before the starCame softly from the silences of night?How worth the painful journeying, to cry:I have seen God upon His mother's breast!

Never have I been atheist--the foolHath said within his heart, there is no God!God may hide in the mass; may look on lifeThrough eyes that slowly opened, until manGazed in the artist and the seer, and said:How beautiful! how good! but I hold notWith those who cry: Behold God in the Book!If there be God, He must be always One;Must not be hid by this, revealed in that;Must be unchanging, like unchanging lawWhich keeps the constellations in their place,Holds atom unto atom. Bud and blade,Frond, leaf and petal are obedientEach to its character; and, like the suns,Depart not from the course, by law ordained,Up the ascent of life. God is in Nature--There only may we find Him. Did she failTo make Him known to man, then would man beApart from her and alien to the earth.God has not ceased to walk down garden paths.He has not grown a-weary of the rose.He is not deaf to lifted song of leaves,What time the artist comes for tinting themOut of his ample shards of autumn-tones.God is the lover of all open wings,Of all who glorify the world with song.There are no moments of the infinite;All things come to their growth by Nature's law--A star, a planet, species or the soul;Therefore, I wait, make no assertions, standHumble before the mystery of life and death--The pillars of that portico whose doorsAre shut; though from the steps I may look downTo trace the winding path up which I toiled,And view my halting places: There I slept,Dreaming a while; there I rose with a laugh,Made strong by what I dreamed, and took the road.How many mile-stones we have passed, my friend,In our long journey to the double-door!Will that door open, Alfred? shall we see,One day, the Good Host standing in the hallWith waiting hands and lips of love that smile?

© Robert Norwood