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Grief's Harmonics

Francis Thompson 1859 (City of Preston, Lancashire) – 1907 (London)

At evening, when the lank and rigid trees,
To the mere forms of their sweet day-selves drying,
On heaven's blank leaf seem pressed and flatten-ed;
Or rather, to my sombre thoughts replying,
Of plumes funereal the thin effigies;
That hour when all old dead things seem most dead,
And their death instant most and most undying,
That the flesh aches at them; there stirred in me
The babe of an unborn calamity,
Ere its due time to be deliver-ed.
Dead sorrow and sorrow unborn so blent their pain,
That which more present was were hardly said,
But both more NOW than any Now can be.
My soul like sackcloth did her body rend,
And thus with Heaven contend:-
'Let pass the chalice of this coming dread,
Or that fore-drained O bid me not re-drain!'
So have I asked, who know my asking vain,
Woe against woe in antiphon set over,
That grief's soul transmigrates, and lives again,
And in new pang old pang's incarnated.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Francis Thompson

The Rt Rev Francis William Banahene Thompson was Bishop of Accra from 1983 to 1996. more…

All Francis Thompson poems | Francis Thompson Books

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