Time of Silence

at a Quaker meeting


Down this sweet river, let it stop or run,
my longing was. “I will not pray,
for words would only atrophise the sun,
this source – this sweet life-giver for today.
I have no words, there are no words to say.”
A hidden weeping shook me. There was one
who was all men, who threw all life away
to be God’s truth: the spirit and the son.

This river, Sir, is strong – and stronger, faster,
the tiny raft of all I have and am
is carried down the current. Drown or damn
me – bless me – resurrect this sham,
my ship – O let it handle to a Master.
O love, the heart has skill against disaster.


There on the wood the Earth was heard
but not in sounds, was understood
but not by men. And mankind erred
there on the wood.

But God had tendered one a Word –
it was the world in search of good.
A man had gone. His spirit stirred
there on the wood.

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