George MacDonald

(10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905 / Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

After The Fashion Of An Old Emblem - Poem by George MacDonald

I have long enough been working down in my cellar,
Working spade and pick, boring-chisel and drill;
I long for wider spaces, airy, clear-dark, and stellar:
Successless labour never the love of it did fill.

More profit surely lies in a holy, pure quiescence,
In a setting forth of cups to catch the heavenly rain,
In a yielding of the being to the ever waiting presence,
In a lifting of the eyes upward, homeward again!

Up to my garret, its storm-windows and skylights!
There I'll lay me on the floor, and patient let the sun,
The moon and the stars, the blueness and the twilights
Do what their pleasure is, and wait till they have done.

But, lo, I hear a waving on the roof of great pinions!
'Tis the labour of a windmill, broad-spreading to the wind!
Lo, down there goes a. shaft through all the house-dominions!
I trace it to a cellar, whose door I cannot find.

But there I hear ever a keen diamond-drill in motion,
Now fast and now slow as the wind sits in the sails,
Drilling and boring to the far eternal ocean,
The living well of all wells whose water never fails.

So now I go no more to the cellar to my labour,
But up to my garret where those arms are ever going;
There the sky is ever o'er me, and the wind my blessed neighbour,
And the prayer-handle ready turns the sails to its blowing.

Blow, blow, my blessed wind; oh, keep ever blowing!
Keep the great windmill going full and free;
So shall the diamond-drill down below keep going
Till in burst the waters of God's eternal sea.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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