Beside the Still Waters

I.

AH God! To lie awake at deep of night,
And hear the rain down-dripping overhead,
And know that joy is quenched and hope is fled,
And from all earth have faded glow and light!
Have mercy, Father! On my smarting sight
Let dreamless sleep its grateful shadows spread;
Give me a while to rest as one who, dead,
Can reck of nothing! When the east grows white
I will be strong, will bravely face once more
This dry-eyed agony, not as of yore
Soothed by swift-gushing tears ! Now, all my soul,
All prayers, all yearning, but reach out and set,
Athirst, ablaze, towards one receding goal —
One hour’s oblivion — to forget, forget!

II.

My God, I thank Thee ! Ah, I cannot know
By what still waters and what pastures green,
Close maybe to those secret founts unseen,
All human finding fathoms deep below,
Whence life itself takes its mysterious flow,
Thou hast my spirit led in sleep, to glean
Healing and strength ! Grief lingers, yet its keen,
Fine throb grows dimmer, fainter, in the slow
Advancing dawn. A lark will soar and sing
While still a tiny clod of earth may cling
To her glad breast: and so, dear Lord, I too
Rise from the ground, and, lifting up my voice,
As golden morning flushes into view,
Remember still, and yet rejoice— rejoice !
Stuart Sterne.