An After-Thought


I HEARD a song so sweet and rare,
Its tuneful path was through the air,
Its death the echo of a prayer.
My face flamed as the Singer’s should,
But hers — rained on with flowers, she stood
As one who mourns a half-won good;
The song unsung we did not hear,
Though ever to her inward ear
Its prisoned sweetness grew more clear.


The Poet saw through reverent eyes
The blissful world that round us lies —
The play of leaves on twilight skies,
The quiver of a swallow’s wings.
So knit are souls of thoughts with things,
That from each form some symbol springs.
And when from pain of bliss he spoke,
Such sense of fairness in men woke,
They called him, Poet of blind folk;
But that rare grace which nature wore,
Haunting the Poet evermore,
Diviner utterance doth implore.


As clouds along the eastern sky
Lean out to see the great sun die,
And turn all crimson where they lie
With glory that he casts aside —
So we, by nearness glorified,
Have watched a white soul, as it died,
Divest itself of human praise,
Deplore the guilt of blameless days,
Bewail the stain of stainless ways.


Oh futile strife that robs of rest,
And leaves the crownéd soul unblest,
Since still a better mocks its best !
The bitter thought grew sweet in me,
As though an angel changed its key
And set its secret music free.
My Singer, Poet, and pure Heart,
Oh grieve not where you sit apart
Because an ideal mocks your art!
Earth’s failures do most strongly plead
For those immortal years whose need
Has worked in men a common creed.
Annie R. Annan.