Katharine Lee Bates

(1859-1929 / United States)

The Presence Chamber - Poem by Katharine Lee Bates

BEHOLD a temple builded not by hands.
Columns of mist, all shimmering with sun,
Stream heavenward from the deep-cut vales that run
Between the mountains, and the vault expands,
Splendor of turquoise, groined with opal bands.
Cloud tapestries, of pearl and amber spun,
Veil in that glorious pavilion,
Mosaic-paved with cities, lakes and lands.
But far withdrawn in utter light of light,
Holy of Holies, is the God to whom
Our souls, that make their own enshrouding night,
Lift piteous prayer: 'Deliver us from gloom,'
Yet shrink aftrighted from the answering, white,
Unbearable Divine that would illume.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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