Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

A Dream Of Resurrection


SO heavenly beautiful it lay,
It was less like a human corse
Than that fair shape in which perforce
A lost hope clothes itself alway.

The dream showed very plain: the bed
Where that known unknown face reposed,--
A woman's face with eyelids closed,
A something precious that was dead;

A something, lost on this side life,
By which the mourner came and stood,
And laid down, ne'er to be indued,
All flaunting robes of earthly strife;

Shred off, like votive locks of hair,
Youth's ornaments of pride and strength,
And cast them in their golden length
The silence of that bier to share.

No tears fell,--but with gazings long
Lorn memory tried to print that face
On the heart's ever-vacant place,
With a sun-finger, sharp and strong.--

Then kisses, dropping without sound,
And solemn arms wound round the dead,
And lifting from the natural bed
Into the coffin's strange new bound.

Yet still no farewell, or belief
In death, no more than one believes
In some dread truth that sudden weaves
The whole world in a shroud of grief.

And still unanswered kisses; still
Warm clingings to the image cold
With an incredulous faith's close fold,
Creative in its fierce 'I will.'

Hush,--hush! the marble eyelids move,
The kissed lips quiver into breath:
Avaunt, thou mockery of Death!
Avaunt!--we are conquerors, I and Love.

Corpse of dead Hope, awake, arise,
A living Hope that only slept
Until the tears thus overwept
Had washed the blindness from our eyes.

Come back into the upper day:
Pluck off these cerements. Patient shroud,
We'll wrap thee as a garment proud
Round the fair shape we thought was clay.

Clasp, arms; cling, soul; eyes, drink anew
The beauty that returns with breath:
Faith, that out-loved this trance-like death,
May see this resurrection too.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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