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Poem by Emma Lazarus


Matins


Gray earth, gray mist, gray sky:
Through vapors hurrying by,
Larger than wont, on high
  Floats the horned, yellow moon.
Chill airs are faintly stirred,
And far away is heard,
Of some fresh-awakened bird,
  The querulous, shrill tune.

The dark mist hides the face
Of the dim land: no trace
Of rock or river's place
  In the thick air is drawn;
But dripping grass smells sweet,
And rustling branches meet,
And sounding water greet
  The slow, sure, sacred dawn.

Past is the long black night,
With its keen lightnings white,
Thunder and floods: new light
  The glimmering low east streaks.
The dense clouds part: between
Their jagged rents are seen
Pale reaches blue and green,
  As the mirk curtain breaks.

Above the shadowy world,
Still more and more unfurled,
The gathered mists upcurled
  Like phantoms melt and pass.
In clear-obscure revealed,
Brown wood, gray stream, dark field:
Fresh, healthy odors yield
  Wet furrows, flowers, and grass.

The sudden, splendid gleam
Of one thin, golden beam
Shoots from the feathered rim
  Of yon hill crowned with woods.
Down its embowered side,
As living waters slide,
So the great morning tide
  Follows in sunny floods.

From bush and hedge and tree
Joy, unrestrained and free,
Breaks forth in melody,
  Twitter and chirp and song:
Alive the festal air
With gauze-winged creatures fair,
That flicker everywhere,
  Dart, poise, and flash along.

The shining mists are gone,
Slight films of gold swift-blown
Before the strong, bright sun
  Or the deep-colored sky:
A world of life and glow
Sparkles and basks below,
Where the soft meads a-row,
  Hoary with dew-fall, lie.

Does not the morn break thus,
Swift, bright, victorious,
With new skies cleared for us,
  Over the soul storm-tost?
Her night was long and deep,
Strange visions vexed her sleep,
Strange sorrows bade her weep:
  Her faith in dawn was lost.

No halt, no rest for her,
The immortal wanderer
From sphere to higher sphere,
  Toward the pure source of day.
The new light shames her fears,
Her faithlessness, her tears,
As the new sun appears
  To light her godlike way.



Emma Lazarus


Emma Lazarus's other poems:
  1. Arabesque
  2. Mater Amabilis
  3. Magnetism
  4. Sunrise
  5. St. MichaelТs Chapel


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