Sea Rest

A poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

Far from "where the roses rest",
Round the altar and the aisle,
Which I loved, of all, the best --
I have come to rest awhile
By the ever-restless sea --
Will its waves give rest to me?

But it is so hard to part
With my roses. Do they know
(Who knows but each has a heart?)
How it grieves my heart to go?
Roses! will the restless sea
Bring, as ye, a rest for me?

Ye were sweet and still and calm,
Roses red and roses white;
And ye sang a soundless psalm
For me in the day and night.
Roses! will the restless sea
Sing as sweet as ye for me?

Just a hundred feet away,
Seaward, flows and ebbs the tide;
And the wavelets, blue and gray,
Moan, and white sails windward glide
O'er the ever restless sea
From me, far and peacefully.

And as many feet away,
Landward, rise the moss-veiled trees;
And they wail, the while they sway
In the sad November breeze,
Echoes in the sighing sea
To me, near and mournfully.

And beside me sleep the dead,
In the consecrated ground;
Blessed crosses o'er each head.
O'er them all the Requiem sound,
Chanted by the moaning sea,
Echoed by each moss-veiled tree.

Roses! will you miss my face?
Do you know that I have gone
From your fair and restful place,
Far away where moveth on
Night and day the restless sea?
But I saw eternity

In your faces. Roses sweet!
Ye were but the virgin veils,
Hiding Him whose holy feet
Walked the waves, whose very wails
Bring to me from Galilee
Rest across the restless sea.

And who knows? mayhap some wave,
From His footstep long ago,
With the blessing which He gave
After ages ebb and flow,
Cometh in from yonder sea,
With a blessing sweet for me.

Just last night I watched the deep,
And it shone as shines a shrine,
(Vigils such I often keep)
And the stars did sweetly shine
O'er the altar of the sea;
So they shone in Galilee.

Roses! round the shrine and aisle!
Which of all I loved the best,
I have gone to rest awhile
Where the wavelets never rest --
Ye are dearer far to me
Than the ever restless sea.

I will come to you in dreams,
In the day and in the night,
When the sun's or starlight's gleams
Robe you in your red or white;
Roses! will you dream of me
By the ever restless sea?

Biloxi, Miss.

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