Last Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

WHEN THE PRIEST LEFT


 

WHAT did he say?
To seek love otherwhere
Nor bind the soul to clay?
It may be so—I cannot tell—
But I know that life is fair,
5
And love’s bold clarion in the air
Outdins his little vesper-bell.

Love God? Can I touch God with both my hands?
Can I breathe in his hair and brush his cheek
He is too far to seek.

10
If nowhere else be love, who understands
What thing it is?
This love is but a name that wise men speak.
God hath no lips to kiss.

Let God be; surely, if he will,

15
At the end of days,
He can win love as well as praise.
Why must we spill
The human love out at his feet?
Let be this talk of good and ill!
20
Though God be God, art thou not fair and sweet?

Open the window; let the air
Blow in on us.
It is enough to find you fair,
To touch with fingers timorous

25
Your sunlit hair,—
To turn my body to a prayer,
And kiss you—thus.