I sit alone in the gray,
The snow falls thick and fast,
And never a sound have I heard all day
But the wailing of the blast,
And the hiss and click of the snow, whirling to and fro.
There seems no living thing
Left in the world but I;
My thoughts fly forth on restless wing,
And drift back wearily,
Storm-beaten, buffeted, hopeless, and almost dead.
No one there is to care;
Not one to even know
Of the lonely day and the dull despair
As the hours ebb and flow,
Slow lingering, as fain to lengthen out my pain.
And I think of the monks of old,
Each in his separate cell,
Hearing no sound, except when tolled
The stated convent bell.
How could they live and bear that silence everywhere?
And I think of tumbling seas,
'Neath cruel, lonely skies;
And shipwrecked sailors over these
Stretching their hungry eyes,--
Eyes dimmed with wasting tears for weary years on years,--
Pacing the hopeless sand,
Wistful and wan and pale,
Each foam-flash like a beckoning hand,
Each wave a glancing sail,
And so for days and days, and still the sail delays.
I hide my eyes in vain,
In vain I try to smile;
That urging vision comes again,
The sailor on his isle,
With none to hear his cry, to help him live--or die!
And with the pang a thought
Breaks o'er me like the sun,
Of the great listening Love which caught
Those accents every one,
Nor lost one faintest word, but always, always heard.
The monk his vigil pale
Could lighten with a smile,
The sailor's courage need not fail
Upon his lonely isle;
For there, as here, by sea or land, the pitying Lord stood
close at hand.
O coward heart of mine!
When storms shall beat again,
Hold firmly to this thought divine,
As anchorage in pain:
That, lonely though thou seemest to be, the Lord is near,