Shall The Dead Praise Thee?

A poem by George MacDonald

I cannot praise thee. By his instrument
The master sits, and moves nor foot nor hand;
For see the organ-pipes this, that way bent,
Leaning, o'erthrown, like wheat-stalks tempest-fanned!

I well could praise thee for a flower, a dove,
But not for life that is not life in me;
Not for a being that is less than love--
A barren shoal half lifted from a sea!

Unto a land where no wind bloweth ships
Thy wind one day will blow me to my own:
Rather I'd kiss no more their loving lips
Than carry them a heart so poor and prone!

I bless thee, Father, thou art what thou art,
That thou dost know thyself what thou dost know--
A perfect, simple, tender, rhythmic heart,
Beating its blood to all in bounteous flow.

And I can bless thee too for every smart,
For every disappointment, ache, and fear;
For every hook thou fixest in my heart,
For every burning cord that draws me near.

But prayer these wake, not song. Thyself I crave.
Come thou, or all thy gifts away I fling.
Thou silent, I am but an empty grave:
Think to me, Father, and I am a king!

My organ-pipes will then stand up awake,
Their life soar, as from smouldering wood the blaze;
And swift contending harmonies shall shake
Thy windows with a storm of jubilant praise.

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