Rapture

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

If thou hast grief
And passion vex the spirit that is in thee--

There was a stony beach
Where the heat flickered and the little waves
Whispered each to each.
Dove-coloured was that stony beach,
And white birds hungering hovered over
The shining waves;
And men had kindled there
A great fierce heap of golden flame--
Spoiled grasses with dead buttercups and pale clover.
The agonising flame
Yearned in its vitals towards the quiet air
And died in a little smoke.
And on the coloured beach the black warm ash
Remained.

Then on that warm ash
Another heap of grasses was outpoured,
And instant came
Another knot of struggling yellow smoke
That burst into new agonies of flame,
Dying into a drift of smoke;
And on the coloured beach the black cold ash
Remained.

Or is thy grief too deep,
Passion too dear, the spirit in thee asleep?--

Twelve deep and sombre, still,
Expectant, hushed,
The miles-long crowd stood--and then listening.
The nervous drums,
The unendurable, low reeds:
Silence--and then the nearing drums
Again, again the thrilling reeds,
And then
(The deep crowd hushed)
Following an almightier King
That rode unseen,
Drew near the tributary magnificence....
Hushed, hushed,
The deep crowd stood, devouring, listening;
But a child on his father's shoulder cried,
"Hurrah, hurrah!"--

Only have thou no fear
Pride, but no fear.

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