Mater Triumphalis

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To Louise Imogen Guiney
Foreseen in Eve's desire,
  Foreborne in Adam s bliss,
The whim of a dream on fire
  Has brought the world to this:
Foregone was the break of order,
  Ere the Will was disobeyed
And the Angel at Eden s border
  Stood with a flaming blade.

This was at the beginning ---
  What shall it be at the end!
For the first child borne in sinning
  Will God or Nature befriend?
Eve s desire is yet burning
  Fair women in country and town,
And Adam's bliss is turning
  Empires and kingdoms down.

Is this the worth of a story,
  Is this the dream of a song
A fabled blare of glory,
  This battle of right and wrong?
O sweet, fair body of woman,
  O strong, brave will of man
Co-equal in the human,
  Unequal in the plan!

The deeds of warriors vanish,
  The words of martyrs die,
But never the heart can banish
  The drift of Helen's sigh.
Jerusalem is forsaken,
  Gomorrah is a lure ---
Eve, once from her sleep awaken,
  And Adam s kiss is sure.

But God is yet the Master,
  The dramatist of the play;
If He wove an act of disaster,
  He wove an act to allay.
Deep in the dream's forebeing
  The Artist was greater than life
Who smiled at His own foreseeing
  The Virgin mother and wife.

© William Stanley Braithwaite