Thomas MacDonagh

(1 February 1878 - 3 May 1916 / Cloughjordan / Ireland)

Introit : Ii. Images - Poem by Thomas MacDonagh

I who austerely spent
My years of youth, nor lent
The journeys of my joy
To youth's employ,

Who sacred held my life
Apart from casual strife,
Striving to comprehend
Life's first and end.

I, in the watches grim
Of winter mornings dim,
Saw life inscrutable
A God vigil,

And in a morn of May
Heard at the dawn of day
The music of that morn
The stars were born.

I ancient images
Of parts and passages
Of powers and things that be
Did know and see,

The chalice and the wine,
The tree of knowledge divine,
The veil, the gossamer,
The hill-side bare,

The trampling ploughing team,
The holy guiding gleam
Of one star standing straight
Above Light's gate,

The child with rapturous voice
Singing, Farewell! Rejoice!
Singing the joy of death
The gate beneath,

The dumb shores of a sea,
The waves that ceaselessly
Uselessly turn and toss,
Knowing their loss,

The flowers of heaven and earth,
The moons of death and birth,
The seasons of the soul,
The worlds that roll

That roll their dark within
Around their suns that spin
Around the gate of Light
In day, in night,

The soaring Seraphim,
The God-wise Cherubim,--
Forms of beauty and love
I saw above.

And therebeneath I saw
The form of transient law,
The great of an earth or age,
Captain and sage,

The lamps of Rome and Greece,
The signs of war and peace,
The eagle in the storm,
Man's clay-fast form.

The phases of the might
Of God in mortal sight
I saw, in God's forethought
Fashioned and wrought,

Now wrought in spirit and clay,
In rare and common day,
And shown in symbol and sign
Of power divine.

These images of old
Reverently I hold,
And here entemple, enstate.
And dedicate,

That I with other men
May worship here again
Him who revealed to us
His creatures thus.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 20, 2010

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