Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

Life Returning - Poem by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

After War-time.

O LIFE, dear life, with sunbeam finger touching
This poor damp brow, or flying freshly by
On wings of mountain wind, or tenderly
In links of visionary embraces clutching
Me from the yawning grave--
Can I believe thou yet hast power to save?

I see thee, O my life, like phantom giant
Stand on the hill-top, large against the dawn,
Upon the night-black clouds a picture drawn
Of aspect wonderful, with hope defiant,
And so majestic grown
I scarce discern the image as my own.

Those mists furl off, and through the vale resplendent
I see the pathway of my years prolong;
Not without labor, yet for labor strong;
Not without pain, but pain whose touch transcendent
By love's divinest laws
Heart unto heart, and all hearts upwards, draws.

O life, O love, your diverse tones bewildering
Make silence, like two meeting waves of sound;
I dream of wifely white arms, lisp of children--
Never of ended wars,
Save kisses scaling honorable scars.

No more of battles! Save the combat glorious
To which all earth and heaven may witness stand;
The sword of the Spirit taking in my hand
I shall go forth, since in new fields victorious
The King yet grants that I
His servant live, or His good soldier die.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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