The Prodigal

O MOTHER, wait until my work is done!
Loose thy strong arms that draw me to thy breast
Till I am ready to lie down and rest;
Grudge not to me the kisses of the sun.
Fear not, fond earth, thy strong love holds me fast;
Thou art mine heir, — I shall be thine at last.
O roses, grasses, trees! I am your kin, —
Your prodigal blood-cousin, — now grown strange
With many wanderings through the lands of Change.
You lent me of your substance, and I’ve been
A wasteful steward; yet I shall bring back
My whole inheritance, — you shall not lack.
Divide my all amongst you; ’t was but lent
To me a while to use. Part heart and brain,
Matter and force, until there shall remain
Of me no shadow; I am well content.
Order and chaos wage eternal strife;
The end of living is to bring forth life.
Guardian of thoughts, immortal memory!
Keep thou immortal some good thought of mine,
Which, in oblivion’s dark, may softly shine
Like the pale fox-fire of a rotting tree.
If thou do keep but one song-child alive,
In its sweet body shall my soul survive.
Charles H. Noyes.