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James Thomson

(23 November 1834 - 3 June 1882 / Port Glasgow, Scotland)

Four Points in a Life


I

LOVE'S DAWN


Still thine eyes haunt me; in the darkness now,
The dreamtime, the hushed stillness of the night,
I see them shining pure and earnest light;
And here, all lonely, may I not avow
The thrill with which I ever meet their glance?
At first they gazed a calm abstracted gaze,
The while thy soul was floating through some maze
Of beautiful divinely-peopled trance;
But now I shrink from them in shame and fear,
For they are gathering all their beams of light
Into an arrow, keen, intense and bright,
Swerveless and starlike from its deep blue sphere,
Piercing the cavernous darkness of my soul,
Burning its foul recesses into view,
Transfixing with sharp agony through and through
Whatever ls not brave and clean and whole.
And yet I will not shrink, although thou piercest
Into the inmost depths of all my being
I will not shrink, although though now art seeing
My heart's caged lusts the wildest and the fiercest,
The cynic thoughts that fret my homeless mind,
My unbelief, my selfishness, my weakness,
My dismal lack of charity and meekness;
For, amidst all the evil, thou must find
Pervading, cleansing, and transmuting me,
A fervent and most holy love for thee.



II

MARRIAGE


Come to me, oh come to me!
Time is long since we were parted;
I am sad and weary-hearted,
Foiled and almost overthrown,
Fighting with the world alone:
What am I when thou art gone?
Come darling, soon!

Come to me, oh come to me!
Let my failing head find rest, Love,
On thy pure and tender breast, Love;
Calm my overwearied brain,
Soothe away my heart's chill pain,
Bring me hope and strength again:
Come darling, soon!

Come to me, oh come to me!
Evermore the memory lingers,
How your gentle flower-soft fingers,
With a touch when I lay ill
Through my fevered frame could thrill
Cool rich life divinely still:
Come darling, soon!

Come to me, oh come to me !
Dearest heart of love and meekness,
Is not this unmanly weakness?
Ah, with thee such pure sweet calm
Heals my wounds with heavenly balm,
I fighting feel my spear a palm:
Come darling, soon!

Come to me, oh come to me!
Though its perils groomed more fearful
I could fight undaunted, cheerful,
This stern Agony called Life,
Were the pauses of the strife
Blest by thee, my noble Wife:
Come darling, soon!

Come to me, oh come to me!
Strength and hope and faith are waning
With this fierce and pauseless straining;
Ere my soul be conquered quite,
Ere I fail from Truth and Right,
Come, my Life, my joy, my Light,
Come Darling, soon!



III

PARTING


Weep not Dearest, weep not so;
Soon again we two shall meet
Who now part in bitter woe:
After pain shall bliss be sweet.

Few more years of numb despair
Must we wander far apart
Through the desert dead and bare:
Love is courage in the heart.

Few more years of bitter moan
O'er the rugged mountain height,
Must we toil on each alone:
Love can make all burdens light.

Few more years of stricken woe
Erring on an alien shore
Lone and friendless each, must go:
We will love then more and more.

Few short hours of doubt and dread
Trembling on the brink of Night
Spectre-haunted, each must tread:
Love can burn all darkness bright.

All the long lone years must die;
Then shall we together come
Where beneath a calm bright sky
Bright waves bear us to our home.

Weep not Dearest, weep not so;
Soon again we two must meet
Where the calm deep waters flow,
Soothing surely care and woe,
With their mystic murmur sweet.





IV

AT DEATH'S DOOR


Is this the second childhood's feeble sadness?
My eyes are dim now and my hair is white;
Yet never did the sunshine give more gladness,
Never young Spring burst forth in green delight
More freshly; never was the earth more fair,
Never more rapture in the common air.

Still as I near great Death, it seems his portal
Glides gently backward, that I may gaze through
And glimpse far glories of the realm immortal;
The world becomes transparent to my view,
Diviner Heavens expand beyond the skies
The stars grow thoughtful with eternal eyes.

How the green grass and every flower swell yearning
To hint more clearly some high loveliness
Whose mystic soul within their forms is burning;
How strives the sea for ever to express,
With infinite heavings, murmurings manifold,
Some secret grandeur that will not be told!

The life of day is lulled to dreamful musing,
And true life waketh in the world of dream;
While with the Present strangely interfusing
The Future and the Past together stream,
As if the long-drawn waves of Time should be
Settling and mingling in Eternity.

With every golden dawn awakened lightly,
I think I must have slept through Death's calm night;
For lo, how purely, silently and brightly,
The Heavens unfold their gates before my sight;
The tranced sea of crystal spreadeth slowly,
The burning Throne lives out with splendours holy.

Whereon I look to see thee come swift-greeting
From where thou waitest for my laggard feet,
Assured beyond impatience for the meeting,
Crowned with triumphant love and faith complete:
I look in vain as yet; but every hour
So summer-rich may make the bud a flower.

How well, my Love, the thoughtful Heavens endeavour
To make this world and life and time all bear
Dream-lightly on the soul, ere it for ever
Be parted from them! Did I once despair
Through years of lonely anguish unassuaged ?
This calm can scarce believe that storms have raged.

Here is the blessing: I now muse enchanted
In this sweet dawnlike sunset; night comes then
Of restful sleep by gracious visions haunted;
So with new morning I shall rise again
Full of young life, and find my Love for aye,
My Love whom I have missed this long sad day.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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