The Book of the Native

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

Earth's Complines


 

Before the feet of the dew
There came a call I knew,
    Luring me into the garden
Where the tall white lilies grew.

I stood in the dusk between

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The companies of green,
    O’er whose aerial ranks
The lilies rose serene.

And the breathing air was stirred
By an unremembered word,

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    Soft, incommunicable—
And wings not of a bird.

I heard the spent blooms sighing,
The expectant buds replying;
    I felt the life of the leaves,

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Ephemeral, yet undying.

The spirits of earth were there,
Thronging the shadowed air,
    Serving among the lilies,
In an ecstasy of prayer.

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Their speech I could not tell;
But the sap in each green cell,
    And the pure initiate petals,
They knew that language well.

I felt the soul of the trees—

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Of the white, eternal seas—
    Of the flickering bats and night-moths
And my own soul kin to these.

And a spell came out of space
From the light of its starry place,

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    And I saw in the deep of my heart
The image of God’s face.