FROM out the horror and the flame-wrought maze, —
Dread darkness swiftly swirled through lurid skies, —
He lifted up his seared and sin-scarred face,
The hell-begotten burden of his eyes,
And saw, midmost of Christ-lit Paradise,
Unclouded now by any touch of shade,
The holy face of her he had betrayed.
Then suddenly he bowed his giant form,
Made massive by fierce fighting with his fate,
And, voicing in one cry his tense heart-storm,
Hurled it against the inward-opening gate.
Deep hell stood still, affrighted; loud-mouthed hate
To silence turned; the flame-flung shadows all
Hung motionless upon the iron wall.
The pain-winged cry fled up to where she stood,
And stirred the meadows to faint symphonies.
(He watched it, silent, through hell’s breathless mood.)
She stooped to listen; a pure, sweet surprise
Flushed through her face, her soft and saintly eyes.
“ Certes,” she said, “ a joyous place to dwell,
Where even the grasses praise.” This was his hell.
C. H. Woodman.