Mater Tenebrarum

In the endless nights, from my bed, where sleepless in anguish I lie,
I startle the stillness and gloom with a bitter and strong cry:
0 Love! 0 Beloved long lost! come down from thy Heaven above,
For my heart is wasting and dying in uttermost famine for love!

Come down for a moment! oh, come! Come serious and mild
And pale, as thou wert on this earth, thou adorable Child!
Or come as thou art, with thy sanctitude, triumph and bliss,
For a garment of glory about thee; and give me one kiss,
One tender and pitying look of thy tenderest eyes,
One word of solemn assurance and truth that
the soul with its love never dies!

In the endless nights, from my bed, where sleepless in frenzy I lie,
I cleave through the crushing gloom with a bitter and deadly cry:
Oh! where have they taken my Love from our Eden
of bliss on this earth?
Which now is a frozen waste of sepulchral and horrible dearth?

Have they killed her indeed? Is her soul as her body, which long
Has moldered away in the dust where the foul worms throng?
O'er what abhorrent Lethes, to what remotest star,
Is she rapt away from my pursuit through cycles and systems far?

She is dead, she is utterly dead; for her life would hear and speed
To the wild imploring cry of my heart that cries in its dreadful need.
In the endless nights, on my bed, where sleeplessly brooding I lie,
I burden the heavy gloom with a bitter an weary sigh:
No hope in this worn-out world, no hope beyond the tomb;
No living and loving God, but blind and stony Doom.

Anguish and grief and sin, terror, disease, and despair:
Why throw not off this life, this garment of torture I wear,
And go down to sleep in the grave in everlasting rest?
What keeps me yet in this life., what spark in my frozen breast?
A fire of dread, 'a light of hope, kindled, 0 Love, by thee;
For thy pure and gentle and beautiful soul, it must immortal be.

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James Thomson

James Thomson, who wrote under the pseudonym Bysshe Vanolis, was a Scottish Victorian-era poet famous primarily for the long poem The City of Dreadful Night, an expression of bleak pessimism in a dehumanized, uncaring urban environment. more…

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"Mater Tenebrarum" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 9 Apr. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/20666/mater-tenebrarum>.

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