The Spectrum

How many colors here do we see set,
Like rings upon God’s finger? Some say three,
Some four, some six, some seven. All agree
To left of red, to right of violet,
Waits darkness deep as night and black as jet.

And so we know what Noah saw we see,
Nor less nor more—of God’s emblazonry
A shred—a sign of glory known not yet.
If red can glide to yellow, green to blue,
What joys may yet await our wider eyes
When we rewake upon a wider shore!
What deep pulsations, exquisite and new!
What keener, swifter raptures may surprise
Men born to see the rainbow and no more!

 

When We are All Asleep

When He returns, and finds the world so drear,
All sleeping, young and old, unfair and fair,
Will he stoop down and whisper in each ear,
“Awaken!” or for pity’s sake forbear,
Saying, “How shall I meet their frozen stare
Of wonder, and their eyes so full of fear?
How shall I comfort them in their despair,
If they cry out, ‘Too late! let us sleep here’?”
Perchance He will not wake us up, but when
He sees us look so happy in our rest,
Will murmur, “Poor dead women and dead men!
Dire was their doom, and weary was their quest.
Wherefore awake them into life again?
Let them sleep on untroubled—it is best.”

William Cosmo Monkhouse, born this day in 1840

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