The Time That Is To Be.

A poem by Marietta Holley

I am thinking of fern forests that once did towering stand,
Crowning all the barren mountains, shading all the dreary land.

Oh, the dreadful, quiet brooding, the solitude sublime,
That reigned like shadowy spectres o'er the third great day of time.

In long, low lines the tideless seas on dull gray shores did break,
No song of bird, no gleam of wing, o'er wood or reedy lake -

No flowers perfumed the pulseless air, no stars, no moon, no sun
To tell in silver language, night was past, or day was done.

Only silence rising with the ghostly morning's misty light,
Silence, silence, settling down upon the moonless, starless night.

And the ferns, and giant mosses, noiseless sentinels did stand,
Looking o'er the tideless ocean, watching o'er the dreary land.

Ferns gave place to glowing olives, and clusters dropping wine,
Mosses changed to oaken tissues, and cleft to fragrant pine.

Deft and noiseless fingers toiled, and wrought the great Creator's plan,
Through countless ages moulding earth for the abode of man.

Till each imperial day was bound by sunset's crimson bars,
The purple columns of the night crowned with the shining stars.

The ripe fruit seeks the sunlight through all the clustering leaves
The earth is decked with golden maize, and costly yellow sheaves.

Countless silent centuries passed in fashioning good that doth appear,
Shall we weary and grow hopeless, waiting for the Golden Year?

* * * * *

Thy kingdom come, in which Thy will is done,
From myriad souls rises the yearning cry;
Scatter palm-boughs - behold, a brighter sun
Shall dawn in splendor, in a clearer sky;
Upon the distant hills a glow we see,
That tells us of the Time that is to be.

The desert then shall blossom like the rose,
The almond flourish on the rocky slopes;
Wisdom and beauty in rare union close,
Making earth beautiful beyond our hopes.
High in the dusky east a star we see,
A herald of the Time that is to be.

The free-born soul shall not be captive then,
Bound by decaying cords of narrow creeds,
God's image shall more clearly shine in men,
Divinely shaped by holy aims and deeds.
Gleam, golden star, oh gleam o'er earth and sea,
A herald of the Time that is to be.

Fetters are broken, so the fern-leaves fall,
A richer growth is budding, wondrous fair,
The flower of liberty shall bloom for all,
And all shall breathe the healing of the air;
The blessed air that wraps a people free,
Within that glorious Time that is to be.

For what is slavery but woe and crime,
And freedom is but liberty from these;
Oh perfect hours, ye come, fair and sublime,
Bearing the sweet form of the baby, Peace,
Shine, golden star, oh shine o'er earth and sea,
A herald of the Time that is to be.

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