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Poem by Eleanor Farjeon

Earth and the World

Skies that smile and slumber overspread with peace,
Quiet shores divinely hushed by kissing seas,
Corn-meads like the Mother's breast swelling and at ease,
All these hold me, fold me, that was not born of these.

      I was born of the city's din
      Where the World winds out and in
      The endless ways man's hands do spin,
      And men and women strive and sin
      To win--I know not what to win.

Silver feet of twilight stepping from the East,
Golden wings of morning pointing to the South,
Globëd noon that half a-swoon
Discontains its ecstasy, spills its ineffable feast,
And flings about the shining air invisibly a wreath,
Scent of pine and flower and brine
Sweet and sweeter than the breath
Of the Belovèd's mouth.

      O but O the city's mood
      Restlessly divides my blood
      Until the greater half doth crave
      All at once to plunge and lave
      Underneath the murky wave
      And commingle with the flood:
      And my brow desires the crown
      Of the chimney-smoke-wreaths brown,
      And my foot upon the pave
      Aches to tramp it up and down
      To the discord of the town.

Sunk in this large retirement where God's presence flows
And I can add no drop to His seas, no speck to His skies,
I might yield myself to His shadow for ever on my eyes
And the vision of Him for ever at peace in my peaceful soul,
Till one still-breathing dusk when the West was a golden rose
I might float out on the tides and over the Brim
To Him:--
And consummate the whole.

      O but to touch the Brim
      And never have sought to swim!

Out here God says all, does all. But there in the city's hum
Units, whereof I am, have their thing to do and say.
My individual note I would sing ere I go the Way.
Finite was I created. The Infinite strikes me dumb.

O changeless earth! O changeful world! I will arise!
Here stands the immutable Is. Yonder the Might Be lies.
What Is I cannot achieve, what Might Be perhaps I can
If but to my finite powers the Infinite give the nod:
All's possible here to God, all's possible there to Man,
And I was born in the city, I am Man, I am not God.

Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon's other poems:
  1. When You Say
  2. Sonnets. 11. A few of us who faltered as we fared
  3. Sonnets. 14. Now I have love again and life again
  4. Three Miles to Penn
  5. Revolt

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