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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley


What Hearest Thou?


What hearest thou?

I hear hearts break,
One or two, here and there;
Cries to the dead, who do not wake;
Prayers, but no answer to prayer;
Words that smite and sting;
Wrongs that only weep;
Weak Truth wearily murmuring,
As she tosses in her sleep.

Woe to thee! Hast thou found
Nothing else under the sun?
The wheels of life go fiercely round,
But they bear the goddess on.

What hearest thou?

I hear Earth shout;
Summer leaps from her lap;
Songs have girt her about;
Never a silent gap;
Tongues whisper Rejoice
In every flower that glows;
Love's triumphant voice
In every wind that blows.

Wings are on thy feet,
A trumpet fills thine ears;
Thou hearest thine own heart beat,
And thou hast not time for tears.

What hearest thou?

I hear what the cloud
Says, kissing the hill;
The Future restless and loud,
The Past reproachful and still;
Worlds in the air that send
Echoes to my frail lute;
Ah, though I love you, friend,
Touch me not and be mute.

True thy music and fine,
Sweeter would it seem
If a hand were clasped in thine,
E'en though it broke thy dream.

What hearest thou?

I hear God speak,
It is the only sound,
Through clamour, sob, and shriek,
As the fierce wheels go round;
Words I hardly hear,
Dark and faint and few;
One thing only is clear,
That which I must do.

Follow that voice to-night,
Ask not where nor how;
It once said, Let there be light,
Darkness waits for it now.



Menella Bute Smedley


Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. Odin's Sacrifice
  2. Song (Take me from these dreary shades)
  3. The Escape of the Empress Matilda
  4. The Singing Lesson
  5. The Death of James I


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