Poem: Words by A. M. Y.

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Words are lighter than the cloud-foam
   Of the restless ocean spray;
Vainer than the trembling shadow
   That the next hour steals away.
By the fall of summer rain drops
   Is the air as deeply stirred;
And the rose-leaf that we tread on
   Will outlive a word.

Yet, on the dull silence breaking
   With a lightning-flash, a word,
Bearing endless desolation
   On its lightning wings, I heard.
Earth can forgo no keener weapon,
   Dealing surer death and pain:
And the cruel echo answered
   Through long months again.

I have known one word hang star-like
   O'er a dreary waste of years,
And it only shone the brighter
   Looked at through a "mist of tears;"
While a weary wanderer gathered
   Hope and heart on life's dark way
By its faithful promise shining
   Clearer day by day.

I have known a spirit calmer
   Than the calmest lake, and clear
As the heavens that gazed upon it,
   With no wave of hope or fear;
But a storm had swept across it,
   And its deepest depths were stirred
Never, never, more to slumber--
   Only by a word.

Words are mighty, words are living;
   Serpents with their venomed stings,
Or bright angels, crowding round us
   With heaven's light upon their wings.
Every word has its own spirit,
   True or false, that never dies;
Every word man's lips have uttered
   Echoes in God's skies.

First published in The Queenslander, 24 November 1883

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 26, 2011 8:16 AM.

Reprint: Are Australian Readers Forgetting Edward Dyson? by N.E.G. was the previous entry in this blog.

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