Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Comrade - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

'Father, I gave my gold and gear,
Cattle and goods full tale,
To save my soul from utter dark:
May this at all avail?'

'Son, ere I know what sin was thine
Surely I may not say:
Yet, for the sake of thy great gifts,
Thy Mother Church will pray.'

'Father, a comrade had I once,
Yea, truest friend to me;
Friends were we when we both were young:
He died on the gallows-tree.'

'Son, for the hot in of thy youth
Thou shalt be freely shriven:
Yea, tho' your friend's soul burn in hell,
Thou art indeed forgiven.'

'And if that friend's soul burn in hell,
There shall mine burn also:
And whither his dear soul hath gone
Thither I too would go.'

'Not in the place of souls accurst
Shall we two meet again:
Surely he hath reward of Thee,
O Christ, who died for men!'

'Mine was the neck that should have felt
The hangman's rope that day,
And mine the feet that should have trod
Along the shameful way.'

'All for my sake that death he died
And bore the black disgrace,
Nor spoke the word should set him free
And bind me in his place.'

'He let them bind him hand and foot,
Gazing on me the while:
No blame in those unfearing eyes
And that serenest smile.'

'And when that stainless soul of his
Passed upward to God's gate,
My manhood that had left me then
Came to me all too late.'

'Fain would I have flung aside
With one releasing blow,
The worthless life he bought with his, -
The life I hated so!'

'Yet - that my blame might be atoned
From year to bitter year -
I, aching for the death I shunned,
Lived out my penance here.'

'Somewhere across the lonely stars
His spirit wakeneth;
And love that gave its life for me
Clings to me still in death.'

'I think he listens for my voice
All through the seraph-song,
And watches by the golden gate,
Hoping I come ere long.'

'I thin he waits to welcome me
Unto God's glorious aisle, -
To greet me with those steadfast eyes
And that serenest smile.'

'Would I not give my gold and gear,
Yea, unto seven times seven,
So I might hope to grasp again
My comrade's hand in heaven?'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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