A Woman in Hospital

A poem by Fay Inchfawn

I know it all . . . I know.
For I am God. I am Jehovah, He
Who made you what you are; and I can see
The tears that wet your pillow night by night,
When nurse has lowered that too-brilliant light;
When the talk ceases, and the ward grows still,
And you have doffed your will:
I know the anguish and the helplessness.
I know the fears that toss you to and fro.
And how you wrestle, weariful,
With hosts of little strings that pull
About your heart, and tear it so.
I know.

Lord, do You know
I had no time to put clean curtains up;
No time to finish darning all the socks;
Nor sew clean frilling in the children's frocks?
And do You know about my Baby's cold?
And how things are with my sweet three- year-old?
Will Jane remember right
Their cough mixture at night?
And will she ever think
To brush the kitchen flues, or scrub the sink?

And then, there's John! Poor tired lonely John!
No one will run to put his slippers on.
And not a soul but me
Knows just exactly how he likes his tea.
It rends my heart to think I cannot go
And minister to him. . . .

I know. I know.

Then, there are other things,
Dear Lord . . . more little strings
That pull my heart. Now Baby feels her feet
She loves to run outside into the street
And Jane's hands are so full, she'll never see. . . .
And I'm quite sure the clean clothes won't be aired --
At least, not properly.
And, oh, I can't, I really can't be spared --
My little house calls so!

I know.
And I am waiting here to help and bless.
Lay down your head. Lay down your hope- lessness
And let Me speak.
You are so weary, child, you are so weak.
But let us reason out
The darkness and the doubt;
This torturing fear that tosses you about.

I hold the universe. I count the stars.
And out of shortened lives I build the ages. . . .

But, Lord, while such high things Thy thought engages,
I fear -- forgive me -- lest
Amid those limitless eternal spaces
Thou shouldest, in the high and heavenly places,
Pass over my affairs as things of nought.
There are so many houses just like mine.
And I so earth-bound, and Thyself Divine.
It seems impossible that Thou shouldst care
Just what my babies wear;
And what John gets to eat; . . . and can it be
A circumstance of great concern to Thee
Whether I live or die?

Have you forgotten then, My child, that I,
The Infinite, the Limitless, laid down
The method of existence that I knew,
And took on Me a nature just like you?
I laboured day by day
In the same dogged way
That you have tackled household tasks. And then,
Remember, child, remember once again
Your own beloveds . . . did you really think --
(Those days you toiled to get their meat and drink,
And made their clothes, and tried to under- stand
Their little ailments) -- did you think your hand,
Your feeble hand, was keeping them from ill?
I gave them life, and life is more than meat;
Those little limbs, so comely and so sweet.
You can make raiment for them, and are glad,
But can you add
One cubit to their stature? Yet they grow!
Oh, child, hands off! Hands off! And leave them so.
I guarded hitherto, I guard them still.

I have let go at last. I have let go.
And, oh, the rest it is, dear God, to know
My dear ones are so safe, for Thou wilt keep.
Hands off, at last! Now, I can go to sleep.

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