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Poem by Bessie Rayner Parkes


The Watch in Heaven


WHEN trembling angels stand aloof,
Watching the fight with folded wings,
Forbid or succour or reproof,
And every hasting second brings
News of the battle fought below.
Where Satan dares his human foe,
God! leave us not alone.

When morning dawns and daylight breaks,
Mournfully, into golden flakes;
When aching hearts and heavy eyes
To meet the coming day arise,
And wondering grope, as in a dream,
Midst things that are and things that seem;
Finding that in our bitterest needs
Our usual Faiths were broken reeds,
>God! hear us from thy throne.

That grief there is when every light
Seems deep engulfed in blackest night;
No hope, no peace, no comfort left,
And Faith of its own cross bereft,
Some know, all may: what rescue then?
How shall the weary rise again?
A power descends on striving men,
Helping us that we live.

More strong belief, a deeper hope,
More noble aims, a wider scope
Of love and thoughtfulness, to heal
All nearer hurts our spirits feel,
We, Father, ask, who grieve and sigh
As if no Christ were ever nigh,
Who compass'd every grief that we
Have known, though sharp our agony.
And so, by wrestling, may at length
Our very weakness teach us strength.
All-Mighty! hear and give.



Bessie Rayner Parkes


Bessie Rayner Parkes's other poems:
  1. On a Group of Justice and Charity
  2. The Little Bird
  3. Up the River
  4. The Old Chateau
  5. The Roman Cities of the Rhone


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