Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Church-Porches - Poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
SISTER, first shake we off the dust we have
Upon our feet, lest it defile the stones
Inscriptured, covering their sacred bones
Who lie i' the aisles which keep the names they gave,
Their trust abiding round them in the grave;
Whom painters paint for visible orisons,
And to whom sculptors pray in stone and bronze;
Their voices echo still like a spent wave.
Without here, the church-bells are but a tune,
And on the carven church-door this hot noon
Lays all its heavy sunshine here without:
But having entered in, we shall find there
Silence, and sudden dimness, and deep prayer,
And faces of crowned angels all about.
SISTER, arise: We have no more to sing
Or say. The priest abideth as is meet
To minister. Rise up out of thy seat,
Though peradventure 'tis an irksome thing
To cross again the threshold of our King
Where His doors stand against the evil street,
And let each step increase upon our feet
The dust we shook from them at entering.
Must we of very sooth go home? The air,
Whose heat outside makes mist that can be seen,
Is very clear and cool where we have been.
The priest abideth ministering. Lo!
As he for service, why not we for prayer?
It is so bidden, sister, let us go.
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