Ada Cambridge

(21 November 1844 – 19 July 1926 / St Gemans, Norfolk)

Listening - Poem by Ada Cambridge


When earth's winter bareness
Feels the April rain,
All her summer fairness
Comes to life again.
So my spirit quickens to that magic strain.


Fancy, warmed and brightened,
Spreads her folded wings —
Passion, stirred, enlightened,
From its slumber springs —
When that bow is laid upon those trembling strings.


Visions, past all telling,
Sweet and strange, I see;
Mystic voices, swelling —
Melting — cry to me
From celestial realms of hope and memory.


Tender thoughts caress me,
Like a summer's day;
Sterner moods possess me,
As the rough winds play
With an autumn leaf untimely cast away.


Fierce desires come creeping
From their secret lair;
Wild regrets, upleaping,
At my heartstrings tear —
Wildest aspirations, more than I can bear.


Like a leaf I quiver
With responsive thrills —
Ache, and burn, and shiver,
As the Master wills
Whose mysterious message all my being fills.


Dreams of grace and glory,
Always out of reach —
Truths untold in story,
That no book can teach,
Past all human language, find their native speech.


O what wailing sadness
That no tongue may tell,
What enraptured gladness,
In those wild notes swell —
Bliss and anguish both — divine, ineffable!


Joys and woes unspoken,
Whereof earth is rife,
Dear hopes blest and broken,
Futile pain and strife,
Birth and death and love, the tragedy of life.


And my soul, attending,
Through my listening ears
In those strains heartrending
Its own history hears —
All too sweet for words, too terrible for tears.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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