A Dream of Resurrection
SO heavenly beautiful it lay, It was less like a human corse Than that fair shape in which perforce A lost hope clothes itself alway. The dream showed very plain: the bed Where that known unknown face reposed,-- A woman's face with eyelids closed, A something precious that was dead; A something, lost on this side life, By which the mourner came and stood, And laid down, ne'er to be indued, All flaunting robes of earthly strife; Shred off, like votive locks of hair, Youth's ornaments of pride and strength, And cast them in their golden length The silence of that bier to share. No tears fell,--but with gazings long Lorn memory tried to print that face On the heart's ever-vacant place, With a sun-finger, sharp and strong.-- Then kisses, dropping without sound, And solemn arms wound round the dead, And lifting from the natural bed Into the coffin's strange new bound. Yet still no farewell, or belief In death, no more than one believes In some dread truth that sudden weaves The whole world in a shroud of grief. And still unanswered kisses; still Warm clingings to the image cold With an incredulous faith's close fold, Creative in its fierce 'I will.' Hush,--hush! the marble eyelids move, The kissed lips quiver into breath: Avaunt, thou mockery of Death! Avaunt!--we are conquerors, I and Love. Corpse of dead Hope, awake, arise, A living Hope that only slept Until the tears thus overwept Had washed the blindness from our eyes. Come back into the upper day: Pluck off these cerements. Patient shroud, We'll wrap thee as a garment proud Round the fair shape we thought was clay. Clasp, arms; cling, soul; eyes, drink anew The beauty that returns with breath: Faith, that out-loved this trance-like death, May see this resurrection too.
Dinah Maria Craik’s other poems:
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