The Thread Of Life


The irresponsive silence of the land,

The irresponsive sounding of the sea,

Speak both one message of one sense to me:—Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so

Thou too aloof bound with the flawless

Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;

But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?

What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?—And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,

And sometimes I remember days of

When fellowship seemed not so far to

And all the world and I seemed much less cold,

And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,

And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.

Thus am I mine own prison.

Around me free and sunny and at ease:

Or if in shadow, in a shade of

Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds

And where all winds make various murmuring;

Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;

Where sounds are music, and where

Are music of an unlike fashioning.

Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,

And smile a moment and a moment

Thinking:

Why can I not rejoice with you?

But soon I put the foolish fancy by:

I am not what I have nor what I do;

But what I was I am,

I am even I.

Therefore myself is that one only thingI hold to use or waste, to keep or give;

My sole possession every day I live,

And still mine own despite Time's winnowing.

Ever mine own, while moons and seasons

From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanitive;

Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;

And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.

And this myself as king unto my KingI give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;

Who gives Himself to me, and bids me singA sweet new song of His redeemed set free;he bids me sing:

O death, where is thy sting?

And sing:

O grave, where is thy victory?

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