James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

We Must Believe


_'Lord, I believe: help Thou mine unbelief.'_


We must believe--
Being from birth endowed with love and trust--
Born unto loving;--and how simply just
That love--that faith!--even in the blossom-face
The babe drops dreamward in its resting-place,
Intuitively conscious of the sure
Awakening to rapture ever pure
And sweet and saintly as the mother's own,
Or the awed father's, as his arms are thrown
O'er wife and child, to round about them weave
And wind and bind them as one harvest-sheaf
Of love--to cleave to, and _forever_ cleave....
Lord, I believe:
Help Thou mine unbelief.

We must believe--
Impelled since infancy to seek some clear
Fulfillment, still withheld all seekers here;--
For never have we seen perfection nor
The glory we are ever seeking for:
But we _have_ seen--all mortal souls as one--
Have seen its _promise_, in the morning sun--
Its blest assurance, in the stars of night;--
The ever-dawning of the dark to light;--
The tears down-falling from all eyes that grieve--
The eyes uplifting from all deeps of grief,
Yearning for what at last we shall receive....
Lord, I believe:
Help Thou mine unbelief.

We must believe--
For still all unappeased our hunger goes,
From life's first waking, to its last repose:
The briefest life of any babe, or man
Outwearing even the allotted span,
Is each a life unfinished--incomplete:
For these, then, of th' outworn, or unworn feet
Denied one toddling step--O there must be
Some fair, green, flowery pathway endlessly
Winding through lands Elysian! Lord, receive
And lead each as Thine Own Child--even the Chief
Of us who didst Immortal life achieve....
Lord, I believe:
Help Thou mine unbelief.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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