The Dream Of The World Without Death

NOW, sitting by her side, worn out with weeping,
Behold, I fell to sleep, and had a vision,
Wherein I heard a wondrous Voice intoning:
 
Crying aloud, “The Master on His throne
Openeth now the seventh seal of wonder,
And beckoneth back the angel men name Death.
 
“And at His feet the mighty Angel kneeleth,
Breathing not; and the Lord doth look upon him,
Saying, ‘Thy wanderings on earth are ended.’
 
“And lo! the mighty Shadow sitteth idle
Even at the silver gates of heaven,
Drowsily looking in on quiet waters,
And puts his silence among men no longer.”
 
The world was very quiet. Men in traffic
Cast looks over their shoulders; pallid seamen
Shiver’d to walk upon the decks alone;
 
And women barr’d their doors with bars of iron,
In the silence of the night; and at the sunrise
Trembled behind the husbandmen afield.
 
I could not see a kirkyard near or far;
I thirsted for a green grave, and my vision
Was weary for the white gleam of a tombstone.
 
But harkening dumbly, ever and anon
I heard a cry out of a human dwelling,
And felt the cold wind of a lost one’s going.
 
One struck a brother fiercely, and he fell,
And faded in a darkness; and that other
Tore his hair, and was afraid, and could not perish.
 
One struck his aged mother on the mouth,
And she vanish’d with a gray grief from his hearthstone.
One melted from her bairn, and on the ground
 
With sweet unconscious eyes the bairn lay smiling.
And many made a weeping among mountains,
And hid themselves in caverns, and were drunken.
 
I heard a voice from out the beauteous earth,
Whose side roll’d up from winter into summer,
Crying, “I am grievous for my children.”
 
I heard a voice from out the hoary ocean,
Crying, “Burial in the breast of me were better,
Yea, burial in the salt flags and green crystals.”
 
I heard a voice from out the hollow ether,
Saying, “The thing ye curs’d hath been abolish’d—
Corruption and decay, and dissolution!”
 
And the world shriek’d, and the summertime was bitter,
And men and women fear’d the air behind them;
And for lack of its green graves the world was hateful.
 
Now at the bottom of a snowy mountain
I came upon a woman thin with sorrow,
Whose voice was like the crying of a seagull:
 
Saying, “O Angel of the Lord, come hither,
And bring me him I seek for on thy bosom,
That I may close his eyelids and embrace him.
 
“I curse thee that I cannot look upon him!
I curse thee that I know not he is sleeping!
Yet know that he has vanish’d upon God!
 
“I laid my little girl upon a wood bier,
And very sweet she seem’d, and near unto me;
And slipping flowers into her shroud was comfort.
 
“I put my silver mother in the darkness,
And kiss’d her, and was solaced by her kisses,
And set a stone, to mark the place, above her.
 
“And green, green were their sleeping places,
So green that it was pleasant to remember
That I and my tall man would sleep beside them.
 
“The closing of dead eyelids is not dreadful,
For comfort comes upon us when we close them,
And tears fall, and our sorrow grows familiar;
 
“And we can sit above them where they slumber,
And spin a dreamy pain into a sweetness,
And know indeed that we are very near them.
 
“But to reach out empty arms is surely dreadful,
And to feel the hollow empty world is awful,
And bitter grows the silence and the distance.
 
“There is no space for grieving or for weeping;
No touch, no cold, no agony to strive with,
And nothing but a horror and a blankness!”
 
Now behold I saw a woman in a mud hut
Raking the white spent embers with her fingers,
And fouling her bright hair with the white ashes.
 
Her mouth was very bitter with the ashes;
Her eyes with dust were blinded; and her sorrow
Sobb’d in the throat of her like gurgling water.
 
And all around the voiceless hills were hoary,
But red lights scorch’d their edges; and above her
There was a soundless trouble of the vapors.
 
“Whither, and O whither,” said the woman,
“O Spirit of the Lord, hast thou convey’d them,
My little ones, my little son and daughter?
 
“For, lo! we wander’d forth at early morning,
And winds were blowing round us, and their mouths
Blew rosebuds to the rosebuds, and their eyes
 
“Look’d violets at the violets, and their hair
Made sunshine in the sunshine, and their pa
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"The Dream Of The World Without Death" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Aug. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/39770/the-dream-of-the-world-without-death>.

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