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(21 November 1844 – 19 July 1926 / St Gemans, Norfolk)

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Grey

Is the morning dim and cloudy? Does the wind drift up the leaves?
Is there mist upon the mountains, where the sun shone yesterday?
Are the little song-birds silent? Is the sky all blurred and grey?
Does the rain fall, patter, patter, from the eaves?

Does your glass go down? And does your heart sink in the dreary lull?
Are the strings relax'd and limp, and do the soft notes whine and cry?
Has the damp got in and jarred the chords and spoil'd the melody?
Are you out of tune, belovèd? are you dull?

Has the chill wind found an entrance? Does it sigh and rustle there?
Is it drifting, not the dead leaves, but your dead hopes, all about?
Is it waking up your sorrow while your light is blotted out?
Does your heart seem sad and cold and full of care?

Are you listless and discouraged, dear? and does your life look grey?
Does there seem no use in trying? Does your work fall from your hand?
Would you give up the great riddle that's so hard to understand?
Oh, then, go you to your chamber straight, and pray.

Go and pray, and God will give you peace and comfort for your pain—
All the misty, dull confusion He will tenderly reform—
And the fire of His own Spirit, that shall make you dry and warm;
And your harp-strings shall be strung and tuned again.

Ay, the Lord will put the melody in your heart and soul anew;
So that, howsoe'er unskilled and rude the hands that touch the wires,
There shall come forth beautiful chords of faith and hope and high desires,
Only music that is deep and sweet and true.

Go and work,—the clouds will show the silver lining that's behind.
Go to squalid lanes and alleys, where grim want and sickness lurk;
Feed the hungry, soothe the suffering, tell the poor of Christ,—oh, work,
And you'll no more hear the rustling of the wind.

Then you'll no more hear the restless, hopeless sobbing over sin,
No more hear the earthly troubles crying, crying from the ground;
For the wings of guardian angels, they shall compass you around,
That the wind shall have no place to enter in.
Then, as wither'd leaves lie browning on the quiet grassy slopes,
As they sink in peaceful earth, and moulder with it as they die,
To help nurture precious seeds for coming summers— so shall lie,
Calm and still, your sorrowful memories and dead hopes.

O belovèd, work and wait! The sun will shine another day,
On a heart refresh'd, and strong, and green, and cool. The rain and gloom
Are to make the sap run quicker, give the flowers a deeper bloom—
We have need for both the golden and the grey.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 02, 2010


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Comments about this poem (All-Saints' Day (1868) by Ada Cambridge )

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  • Kranthi Pothineni (3/2/2010 8:07:00 AM)

    Very nice theme. Well expressed. Meaningful in the end. Good one.

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