Grace Of The Way

by Francis Thompson

Francis Thompson

'My brother!' spake she to the sun;
The kindred kisses of the stars
Were hers; her feet were set upon
The moon. If slumber solved the bars
Of sense, or sense transpicuous grown
Fulfill-ed seeing unto sight,
I know not; nor if 'twas my own
Ingathered self that made her night.
The windy trammel of her dress,
Her blown locks, took my soul in mesh;
God's breath they spake, with visibleness
That stirred the raiment of her flesh:
And sensible, as her blown were,
Beyond the precincts of her form
I felt the woman flow from her--
A calm of intempestuous storm.
I failed against the affluent tide;
Out of this abject earth of me
I was translated and enskied
Into the heavenly-regioned She.
Now of that vision I bereaven
This knowledge keep, that may not dim:-
Short arm needs man to reach to Heaven,
So ready is Heaven to stoop to him.
Which sets, to measure of man's feet,
No alien Tree for trysting-place;
And who can read, may read the sweet
Direction in his Lady's face.
And pass and pass the daily crowd,
Unwares, occulted Paradise;
Love the lost plot cries silver-loud,
Nor any know the tongue he cries.
The light is in the darkness, and
The darkness doth not comprehend:
God hath no haste; and God's sons stand
Yet a Day, tarrying for the end.
Dishonoured Rahab still hath hid,
Yea still, within her house of shame,
The messengers by Jesus bid
Forerun the coming of His Name.
The Word was flesh, and crucified,
From the beginning, and blasphemed:
Its profaned raiment men divide,
Damned by what, reverenced, had redeemed.
Thy Lady, was thy heart not blind,
One hour gave to thy witless trust
The key thou go'st about to find;
And thou hast dropped it in the dust.
Of her, the Way's one mortal grace,
Own, save thy seeing be all forgot,
That truly, God was in this place,
And thou, unbless-ed, knew'st it not.
But some have eyes, and will not see;
And some would see, and have not eyes;
And fail the tryst, yet find the Tree,
And take the lesson for the prize.

Last updated January 14, 2019