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Thomas À Kempis

Lizette Woodworth Reese 1856 (Waverly) – 1935

Brother of mine, good monk with cowlëd head,
Walled from that world which thou hast long since fled,
And pacing thy green close beyond the sea,
I send my heart to thee.

Down gust-sweet walks, bordered by lavender,
While eastward, westward, the mad swallows whir,
All afternoon poring thy missal fair,
Serene thou pacest there.

Mixed with the words and fitting like a tune,
Thou hearest distantly the voice of June,—
The little, gossipping noises in the grass,
The bees that come and pass.

Fades the long day; the pool behind the hedge
Burns like a rose within the windy sedge;
The lilies ghostlier grow in the dim air;
The convent windows flare.

Yet still thou lingerest; from pastures steep,
Past the barred gate the shepherd drives his sheep;
A nightingale breaks forth, and for a space
Makes sweeter the sweet place.

Then the gray monks by hooded twos and threes
Move chapelward beneath the flaming trees;
Closing thy book, back by the alleys fair
Thou followest to prayer.

Born to these brawling days, this work-sick age,
Oft long I for thy simpler heritage;
A thought of thee is like a breath of bloom
Blown through a noisy room.

For thou art quick, not dead. I picture thee
Forever in that close beyond the sea;
And find, despite this weather’s headlong stir,
Peace and a comforter.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:08 min read
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