A Prayer For The Past: All Sights And Sounds Of Day And Yea - Poem by George MacDonald
All sights and sounds of day and year,
All groups and forms, each leaf and gem,
Are thine, O God, nor will I fear
To talk to thee of them
Too great thy heart is to despise,
Whose day girds centuries about;
From things which we name small, thine eyes
See great things looking out.
Therefore the prayerful song I sing
May come to thee in ordered words:
Though lowly born, it needs not cling
In terror to its chords.
I think that nothing made is lost;
That not a moon has ever shone,
That not a cloud my eyes hath crossed
But to my soul is gone.
That all the lost years garnered lie
In this thy casket, my dim soul;
And thou wilt, once, the key apply,
And show the shining whole.
But were they dead in me, they live
In thee, whose Parable is-Time,
And Worlds, and Forms-all things that give
Me thoughts, and this my rime
And after what men call my death,
When I have crossed the unknown sea,
Some heavenly morn, on hopeful breath,
Shall rise this prayer to thee
Oh let me be a child once more,
And dream fine glories in the gloom,
Of sun and moon and stars in store
To ceil my humble room.
Oh call again the moons that crossed
Blue gulfs, behind gray vapours crept;
Show me the solemn skies I lost
Because in thee I slept.
Once more let gathering glory swell,
And lift the world's dim eastern eye;
Once more let lengthening shadows tell
Its time is come to die.
But show me first-oh, blessed sight!
The lowly house where I was young;
There winter sent wild winds at night,
And up the snow-heaps flung;
Or soundless brought a chaos fair,
Full, formless, of fantastic forms,
White ghostly trees in sparkling air-
Chamber for slumbering storms.
There sudden dawned a dewy morn;
A man was turning up the mould;
And in our hearts the spring was born,
Crept thither through the cold.
And Spring, in after years of youth,
Became the form of every form
For hearts now bursting into truth,
Now sighing in the storm
On with the glad year let me go,
With troops of daisies round my feet;
Flying my kite, or, in the glow
Of arching summer heat,
Outstretched in fear upon a bank,
Lest, gazing up on awful space,
I should fall down into the blank,
From off the round world's face.
And let my brothers come with me
To play our old games yet again,
Children on earth, more full of glee
That we in heaven are men.
If then should come the shadowy death,
Take one of us and go,
We left would say, under our breath,
'It is a dream, you know!'
'And in the dream our brother's gone
Upstairs: he heard our father call;
For one by one we go alone,
Till he has gathered all.'
Father, in joy our knees we bow:
This earth is not a place of tombs:
We are but in the nursery now;
They in the upper rooms
For are we not at home in thee,
And all this world a visioned show;
That, knowing what Abroad is, we
What Home is too may know?
And at thy feet I sit, O Lord,
As once of old, in moonlight pale,
I at my father's sat, and heard
Him read a lofty tale
On with my history let me go,
And reap again the gliding years,
Gather great noontide's joyous glow,
Eve's love-contented tears;
One afternoon sit pondering
In that old chair, in that old room,
Where passing pigeon's sudden wing
Flashed lightning through the gloom;
There try once more, with effort vain,
To mould in one perplexed things;
There find the solace yet again
Hope in the Father brings;
Or mount and ride in sun and wind,
Through desert moors, hills bleak and high,
Where wandering vapours fall, and find
In me another sky!
For so thy Visible grew mine,
Though half its power I could not know;
And in me wrought a work divine,
Which thou hadst ordered so
Giving me cups that would not spill,
But water carry and yield again;
New bottles with new wine to fill
For comfort of thy men.
But if thou thus restore the past
One hour, for me to wander in,
I now bethink me at the last-
O Lord, leave out the sin.
And with the thought comes doubt, my God:
Shall I the whole desire to see,
And walk once more, of that hill-road
By which I went to thee
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