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Three by Meynell III

Three poems by Alice Meynell.

The Unknown God

One of the crowd went up,
And knelt before the Paten and the Cup,
Received the Lord, returned in peace, and prayed
Close to my side. Then in my heart I said:

"O Christ, in this man's life—
This stranger who is Thine—in all his strife,
All his felicity, his good and ill,
In the assaulted stronghold of his will,

"I do confess Thee here,
Alive within this life; I know Thee near
Within this lonely conscience, closed away
Within this brother's solitary day.

"Christ in his unknown heart,
His intellect unknown—this love, this art,
This battle and this peace, this destiny
That I shall never know, look upon me!

"Christ in his numbered breath,
Christ in his beating heart and in his death,
Christ in his mystery! From that secret place
And from that separate dwelling, give me grace!"

(from "Later Poems")

A General Communion

I saw the throng, so deeply separate,
   Fed at one only board—
The devout people, moved, intent, elate,
   And the devoted Lord.

O struck apart! not side from human side,
   But soul from human soul,
As each asunder absorbed the multiplied,
   The ever unparted, whole.

I saw this people as a field of flowers,
   Each grown at such a price
The sum of unimaginable powers
   Did no more than suffice.

A thousand single central daisies they,
   A thousand of the one;
For each, the entire monopoly of day;
   For each, the whole of the devoted sun.

(from "Later Poems")

Christ in the Universe

         With this ambiguous earth
His dealings have been told us. These abide:
The signal to a maid, the human birth,
The lesson, and the young Man crucified.

         But not a star of all
The innumerable host of stars has heard
How He administered this terrestrial ball.
Our race have kept their Lord's entrusted Word.

         Of His earth-visiting feet
None knows the secret, cherished, perilous,
The terrible, shamefast, frightened, whispered, sweet,
Heart-shattering secret of His way with us.

         No planet knows that this
Our wayside planet, carrying land and wave,
Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss,
Bears, as chief treasure, one forsaken grave.

         Nor, in our little day,
May His devices with the heavens be guessed,
His pilgrimage to thread the Milky Way,
Or His bestowals there be manifest.

         But, in the eternities,
Doubtless we shall compare together, hear
A million alien Gospels, in what guise
He trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear.

         O be prepared, my soul!
To read the inconceivable, to scan
The million forms of God those stars unroll
When, in our turn, we show to them a Man.

(from "Later Poems")

The Poems of Alice Meynell: Complete Edition (1923), pp. 78, 79, 92. The book is on line here.

See also Three by Meynell II: Three poems by Alice Meynell.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 04/18/04 07:09:42 AM
Categorized as Literary & Religious & Sunday Poetry Series.

   
         
         

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Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”