In Deep Concern

(Guilford College, North Carolina)

QUAKERS define the hour when thoughts begin to burn
And faith leaps from the heart into the hands,
That great turbulence of spirit, ‘a concern,’
The hour when contemplation breaks its bonds.
Poems are written, colleges are built, states live
When people go out from their thinking to the street
With a faith in their hands so deep and positive
It makes the vision true. Here thought and action meet.
So the idea of a college a hundred years ago
Was born from Quakers’ deep concern, and with their hands
They dug and baked clay into bricks that warmly glow
Still with the heat of faith. That college stands.
But we, late-comers, are not sure, we are bound fast.
We do not know for certain, we have not got it clear:
Paul Revere rode, Benjamin went to France, John Brown
Was shot because thought burned to action in the past,
Because thought grew so deep and hot it cast out fear.
And it is matter for concern whether we shall go down,
Or from the deeps of thought and prayer take up our stand,
Where faith moves from the mind into the working hand.
MAY SARTON