Nocturne ["Betimes, I seem to see in dreams"]

A poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

Betimes, I seem to see in dreams
What when awake I may not see;
Can night be God's more than the day?
Do stars, not suns, best light his way?
Who knoweth? Blended lights and shades
Arch aisles down which He walks to me.

I hear him coming in the night
Afar, and yet I know not how;
His steps make music low and sweet;
Sometimes the nails are in his feet;
Does darkness give God better light
Than day, to find a weary brow?

Does darkness give man brighter rays
To find the God, in sunshine lost?
Must shadows wrap the trysting-place
Where God meets hearts with gentlest grace?
Who knoweth it? God hath His ways
For every soul here sorrow-tossed.

The hours of day are like the waves
That fret against the shores of sin:
They touch the human everywhere,
The Bright-Divine fades in their glare;
And God's sweet voice the spirit craves
Is heard too faintly in the din.

When all the senses are awake,
The mortal presses overmuch
Upon the great immortal part --
And God seems further from the heart.
Must souls, like skies, when day-dawns break,
Lose star by star at sunlight's touch?

But when the sun kneels in the west,
And grandly sinks as great hearts sink;
And in his sinking flings adown
Bright blessings from his fading crown,
The stars begin their song of rest,
And shadows make the thoughtless think.

The human seems to fade away;
And down the starred and shadowed skies
The heavenly comes -- as memories come
Of home to hearts afar from home;
And thro' the darkness after day
Many a winged angel flies.

And somehow, tho' the eyes see less,
Our spirits seem to see the more;
When we look thro' night's shadow-bars
The soul sees more than shining stars,
Yea -- sees the very loveliness
That rests upon the "Golden Shore".

Strange reveries steal o'er us then,
Like keyless chords of instruments,
With music's soul without the notes;
And subtle, sad, and sweet there floats
A melody not made by men,
Nor ever heard by outer sense.

And "what has been", and "what will be",
And "what is not", but "might have been",
The dim "to be", the "mournful gone",
The little things life rested on
In "Long-ago's", give tone, not key,
To reveries beyond our ken.

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