― 42 ―

The Well

There shall be hewers of wood and drawers of water.”

I MUST go back to the well,
Though the well drown me,
If all that the world could tell
Waited to crown me!

Dreams and the heart's desire
Are a fool's finding;
Who are we that should tire
Of the mill's grinding?

Seeing all dreams burn pale
When the dreamers waken,
That all must utterly fail
In the tale taken.

Who are we that should turn
From the sharp leaven,
Feeling our hearts burn
For some lost heaven?

The soul of the wise is sad
For very seeing,
But the heart of a fool is glad
In his own being.

Shall miracles come to pass
For the soul's reading
That has lain like the trampled grass,
Broken and bleeding?

Visioned in tears that start
Where the ways sever,
In tears that hide in the heart
And hurt forever?

  ― 43 ―
There was a gleam that came
To me, benighted,
A flickering candle-flame
By pale hands lighted,

And out of the flame a song
Cleft the dark o'er me,
Fleet as a flame, and strong,
And fled before me,

A pillar of song and fire
By strange paths leading,
The star of the soul's desire,
Always receding.

Wonders and signs shall come—
Who shall reveal them?
Seeing all lips are dumb—
Shall Death unseal them?

One shall hear tongues in the wind,
Mighty with meaning,
Elegies muffled and thinned
To a reed's keening.

When all that speaks to the throng
Is the wind's blowing,
Or the lift of a wild swan's song,
Or the wave's flowing.

One shall see thoughts by the way,
Blown from far places,
With the light of eternal Day
In their veiled faces,

When all that the throng shall see
For its faith's saving
Is the bough of a broken tree
In the wind waving.

  ― 44 ―
Hope and the morning star,
And a lark's winging,
And the sea on the outer bar
Sobbing and singing,

The murmur of tall pines
Crooning together
At dusk, when the wind whines
In the wet heather,

The patter of warm rains,
And the hot drumming
Of blood in the world's veins
When Spring is coming,

A sparrow dead in the street,
A dove hawk-smitten,
A hind at the hunter's feet—
So was it written?

The lure of Ultimate things
Formless and nameless,
The beating of great wings,
Invisible, tameless,

The spell on the hills at eve
Was it cloud dying,
Or the shimmer of God's sleeve,
That left us—crying?

A strange step at the door,
And the out-going
Of quick feet on the floor,
That passes knowing—

These shall be things too fleet
For us to bind them;
Flagging on heavy feet,
Falling behind them.

  ― 45 ―
But the faith of a friend shall stand
In the fierce questing,
As a rock in a weary land,
For the soul's resting,

And love shall be fairy gold
For a little heaping,
Till night, and the hands fold
For the long sleeping.