Rebellion - Poem by Beatrice Redpath
The earth lay wrapped in pale low hanging mist,
As some white tomb all ready for its dead
I thought, and shudderingly forward pressed
Into that shadowed house where night still hung
Darkly, as though it yet were loath to leave
While he lay there so still within the room.
. . . . .
There was a garden once where the rose trees
Were heavy with white globes of scented bloom,
There the bright-shafted arrows of the moon
Fell down the amethystine ways of night,
And silence hung so heavy on the air
We scarcely dared to fret the night with speech.
. . . . .
Ah, how the scent of that rose garden now
Drifts back, and for a moment lulls my pain,
But then more poignant seems my heart's sharp ache,
For he lies dead, silent and all alone.
How strange it is to be the first time here,
And pass by every room where he has been
Which now are empty as a disused frame.
Along these halls his feet have often trod
Unto the sound of Her voice calling him,
So careful of Her pleasure as his wont. . .
Ah, how the shadows of these empty halls
Seem pressing on my throat to stifle me,
Until I feel I may not reach that room. . .
I thought my heart acquainted well with grief,
But oh, I had not known there was such woe
In all the world as this, O God as this,
To stand and look on my belovèd dead.
O Death, I did not know thou wert so still
And so remote from all this troubled world;
Thou takest from me what was never mine,
And yet all mine the loss, all mine to bear
The hungry emptiness of aching days.
For oh, Belovèd, though so far from thee
Yet thy love warmed me as the distant sun
Lightens a planet in a further space,
And so I was not wholly comfortless.
Now is the light gone out across the world,
Yet earth reels always purposelessly round.
Ah, I would scream aloud unto the stars
That thou art dead, what need have they to shine,
What need have moons to drift across the skies,
Or suns to flare above a barren earth ?
Belovèd, now thou art beyond the world
And art no longer bound to cherish Her,
But now shalt love me as thy spirit wouldst.
Ah, shall repression be our single creed?
All Thou hast made, God, Thou hast fashioned free,
But man would place a bridle on it all,
Chain the glad golden lightnings to his need,
Stem the bright rivers eager from the hills,
And burden earth with palaces of steel;
So would he place his rule above our hearts
And stifle love with a remorseless law.
But now, Belovèd, dust thou not have grief
And know regret because of wasted years
That knew no profiting but only loss ?
Surely thou seest now how vain are laws,
How greatly God in Heaven esteemeth love.
There was a garden once where the rose-trees
Were heavy with white globes of scented bloom. . .
Ah, dear, canst thou not hold thine arms again
More wide for me, I am so tired with tears,
And resting even now within thine arms
I might forget a little while to weep.
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