A Legend

Abram Joseph Ryan 1839 (Hagerstown) – 1886 (Louisville)

He walked alone beside the lonely sea,
The slanting sunbeams fell upon his face,
His shadow fluttered on the pure white sands
Like the weary wing of a soundless prayer.
And He was, oh! so beautiful and fair!
Brown sandals on His feet -- His face downcast,
As if He loved the earth more than the heav'ns.
His face looked like His Mother's -- only hers
Had not those strange serenities and stirs
That paled or flushed His olive cheeks and brow.
He wore the seamless robe His Mother made --
And as He gathered it about His breast,
The wavelets heard a sweet and gentle voice
Murmur, "Oh! My Mother" -- the white sands felt
The touch of tender tears He wept the while.
He walked beside the sea; He took His sandals off
To bathe His weary feet in the pure cool wave --
For He had walked across the desert sands
All day long -- and as He bathed His feet
He murmured to Himself, "Three years! three years!
And then, poor feet, the cruel nails will come
And make you bleed; but, ah! that blood shall lave
All weary feet on all their thorny ways."
"Three years! three years!" He murmured still again,
"Ah! would it were to-morrow, but a will --
My Father's will -- biddeth Me bide that time."
A little fisher-boy came up the shore
And saw Him -- and, nor bold, nor shy,
Approached, but when he saw the weary face,
Said mournfully to Him: "You look a-tired."
He placed His hand upon the boy's brown brow
Caressingly and blessingly -- and said:
"I am so tired to wait." The boy spake not.
Sudden, a sea-bird, driven by a storm
That had been sweeping on the farther shore,
Came fluttering towards Him, and, panting, fell
At His feet and died; and then the boy said:
"Poor little bird," in such a piteous tone;
He took the bird and laid it in His hand,
And breathed on it -- when to his amaze
The little fisher-boy beheld the bird
Flutter a moment and then fly aloft --
Its little life returned; and then he gazed
With look intensest on the wondrous face
(Ah! it was beautiful and fair) -- and said:
"Thou art so sweet I wish Thou wert my God."
He leaned down towards the boy and softly said:
"I am thy Christ." The day they followed Him,
With cross upon His shoulders, to His death,
Within the shadow of a shelt'ring rock
That little boy knelt down, and there adored,
While others cursed, the thorn-crowned Crucified.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:12 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme Text too long
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,254
Words 443
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 52

Abram Joseph Ryan

Abram Joseph Ryan CM was an American poet an active proponent of the Confederate States of America and a Roman Catholic priest He has been called the Poet-Priest of the Confederacy more…

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