Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

(25 November 1875 – 15 August 1928 / Canada)

Out Of Babylon - Poem by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

THEIR looks for me are bitter,
And bitter is their word–
I may not glance behind unseen,
I may not sigh unheard!

So fare we forth from Babylon,
Along the road of stone;
And none looks back to Babylon
Save I–save I alone!

My mother's eyes are glory-filled,
Save when they fall on me;
The shining of my father's face
I tremble when I see.

For they were slaves in Babylon,
And now they're walking free–

They leave their chains in Babylon,
I bear my chains with me!

At night a sound of singing
The vast encampment fills;
'Jerusalem! Jerusalem!'
It sweeps the nearing hills–

But no one sings of Babylon,–
Their home of yesterday–
And no one prays for Babylon,
And I–I dare not pray!

Last night the Prophet saw me,
And while he held me there
The holy fire within his eyes
Burned all my secret bare.

'What! Sigh you so for Babylon?'
(I turned away my face)
'Here's one who turns to Babylon,
Heart-traitor to her race!'

I follow and I follow,
My heart upon the rack!
I follow to Jerusalem–
The long road stretches back

To Babylon, to Babylon!
And every step I take
Bears farther off from Babylon
A heart that cannot break!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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