Katharine Lee Bates

(1859-1929 / United States)

White Moments - Poem by Katharine Lee Bates

THE best of life, what is it but white moments?
Those swift illuminations when we see
The flying shadows on the fragrant meadows
As God beholds them from eternity.
White moments, when the bliss of being worships,
And fear and shame are heretics that burn
In holy fire of exquisite desire
For love's surrender and for love's return.
White moments, when a Power above the artist
Catches his plodding chisel, sets it free,
And from each urgent stroke there springs emergent
The wayward grace that laughs at industry.
White moments, when the drowsing soul, sense-muffled,
Is stung awake by some keen arrow-flight
And rends the bestial, claiming its celestial
Succession in the lineage of light.
White moments, when the spirit, long confronted
By all the bitter formulæ of fate,
Inveterate romancer, finds its answer
In some mysterious faith inviolate.
White moments, when the silence steals on sorrow,
And in that hush the heart becomes aware
Of wings that brood it, visions that seclude it
Forevermore from folly, fear and care.
The best of life, what is it but white moments?
Freedoms that break the chain and fling the load,
Irradiations, ardors, consecrations,
— The starry shrines along our pilgrim road.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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