A Man’s Bargain

I

If I cry out for fellowship,
A comrade’s voice, a comrade’s grip,
A hand to hold me, when I slip,
An ear to heed my groan,
Renew that hour’s dark ecstasy,
When all Thy waves went over me,
And Thou and I, with none to see,
Were joined in fight alone!

II

If I demand a sheltered space
Set for me in the battle-place,
Where I at times could turn my face,
A screened and welcomed guest.
Decree my soul should henceforth cease
From its wild hankering after peace,
And rest in that which gives release
From the desire of rest.

III

If I for final goal should ask,–
Some meaning for the long day’s task,
Some ripened field that yet may bask,
Secure from hurricane.
Point to Thy locust-eaten sheaves,–
The burnt-out stars, the still-born leaves!
And by the Toil no hope retrieves
Nerve me to toil again.

IV

So to Thy hard propitious skies
Shall praise go up like sacrifice,
And all the will within me, rise,
Applauding at Thy word;
Thou, in the Glory jasper-walled
By no reproach of mine be galled;
And I, among my kind, be called
The man whose prayers are heard!

— Gertrude M. Hort

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