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Stained glass windows in a cathedral.

To God


I am dying, and my work is all before me;
As a pencil that doth break beneath the knife
So have I brake before the bitter sharping
Of the grim blades of thought that shaped my life,
And made me fit and keen to speak before Thee,
And now I die, just trained enough to sing.

Why must I die when I was fit to speak?
And why the bitter training of these years —
That bred expression's need, and the live promise
That I should sing my song? And now, too weak,
I see my glories through a mist of fears,
As a dumb seer that dies beneath death's kiss,
Seeing great visions from a cask of iron.

O Thou Who Art; but not by man described —
A Force all hidden from the eyes of Proof,
Believed in dumbly, or with foolish word,
By man whose thoughts are by emotions bribed,

If Thou art there, so utter and aloof,
Answer my heart that flutters, here, absurd,
Asking unguided questions of the Dark —
Hope asking — Hope that can but Hark.

This poem is in the public domain.
Photograph © 2004 by David Iliff, used under a Creative Commons license.