English poetry

British Poets Biographies Poems About Random Poem
The Rating of Poets The Rating of Poems

Poem by Thomas Aird


Morning


Gray brindled dawn comes up before the sun.
There's health, there's moral healing in the hour
So naked clear, so dewy, dewy cool.

O curse of sleeplessness! Haggard and pale,
The tyrant Nero, see him from his bed
Wandering about, haunting the long dim halls,
And silent stairs, at midnight, startled oft
At his own footsteps, like a guilty thing,
Sharp turning round aghast. The palace sleeps,
And all the city sleeps, all save its lord.
Then looks he to the windows of the east,
Wearily watching for the morning light,
Which comes not at his will. Down on his bed
He flings himself again. His eyeballs ache;
His temples throb; his pillow's hot and hard;
And through his dried brain thoughts and feelings drift
Tumultuous, unrestrained, carrying his soul
On the high fever's surge. The imperial world
For one short dewy hour of healing sleep!
Worlds cannot buy the blessing. Up he reels,
And staggers forth. Slow-coming day at length
Has found him thus. Its busy forms of life,
Its turms, its senators, its gorgeous guests,
Bowing in homage from barbaric isles,
To him are phantoms: Through its ghastly light
Wildered he lives. To feel and be assured
He yet has hold on being, with the drugs
Of monstrous pleasures, cruelty and lust,
He drugs his spirits; ever longing still
For the soft hour of eve, if sleep may come
After another day has worn him out.
But images of black, bed-fellows strange,
Lie down with him; drawing his curtain back,
Unearthly shapes, and unimagined faces,
Look in upon him, near down on his eyes,
Nearer and nearer still, till they are forced
To wink beneath the infliction, like a weight
Of actual pressure, solid, heavy, felt.
But winking hard, a thousand coloured motes
Begin to dance confused, and central stars,
And spots of light, welling and widening out
In rings concentric, peopling all the blind
Black vacancy before his burning balls.
But soon they change to leering antic shapes,
And dread-suggesting fiends. Dim, far away,
Long dripping corpses, swaying in the waves,
Slowly cast up, arise; gashed, gory throats,
And headless trunks of men, are nearer seen,
And every form of tragic butchery
The myriad victims of his power abused
By sea and land. To give their hideousness
Due light, a ceiling of clear molten fire,
Figured with sprawling imps, begins to glow
Hot overhead, casting a brazen light
Down on the murdered crew. All bent on him,
Near, nearer still, they swarm, they crowd, they press;
And round and round, and through and through the rout,
The naked Pleasures, knit with Demons, dance.

But up from innocent sleep, how fresh to meet
The glistening morn, over the smoking lawn
Spangled, by briery balks, and brambled lanes,
Where blows the dog-rose, and the honeysuckle
Hangs o'er the heavy hedge its trailing sheaf
Of stems and leaves, tendrils and clasping rings,
Cold dews, and bugle blooms, and honey smells,
And wild bees swinging as they murmur there.
The speckled thrush, startled from off the thorn,
Shakes down the crystal drops. With spurring haste,
The rabbit scuds across the grassy path;
Pauses a moment, with its form and ears
Arrect to listen; then, with glimpse of white,
Springs through the hedge into the ferny brake.
Or taste the freshness of the pastoral hills
On such a morn: Light scarfs of thinning mist
In graceful lingerings round their shoulders hang;
New-washed and white, the sheep go nibbling up
The high green slopes; a hundred gurgling rills,
Sparkling with foam-bells, to your very heart
Send their delicious coolness; hark! again,
The cuckoo somewhere in the sunny skirts
Of yonder patch of the old natural woods;
Sudden with iron croak, clear o'er the gray
Summit, o'erhanging you, with levelled flight,
The raven shoots into the deep blue air.

Lo! in the confluence of the mountain glens,
The small gray ruin of an ancient kirk;
Our first Reformed, so faithful reverence tells.

There stands it, and will stand, till Time's slow tooth
Nibble it all away; for it is fenced
With awe, and ghostly fears, the abuse of awe
In simple minds: Strange judgments, so they say,
Have fallen on those who once or twice have dared
To lay their hands upon its holy stones
For secular uses, and remove the bell.
Such faith has Scotland in her Burning Bush!
Bush of the wilderness! see how the flames
Bicker and burn around it; but the Spirit
Blows gracious by, and the dear little Bush,
The desert Bush, in every freshened leaf
Uncurled, unsinged in every flowery bud,
Fragrant with Heavenly dews, and dropping balsams
Good for the hurt soul's healing, waves and rustles,
Even in the very heart of the red burning,
In livelier green and fairer blossoming.

Earth sends her soft warm incense up to Heaven;
The birds their matins sing. Joining the hymn,
The tremulous voice of psalms from human lips
Is heard in the free air. You wonder where,
And who the worshippers. Behold them now,
Low seated by the burn; an old gray man,
His head uncovered, and the Book of Life
Spread on his knee, and by his side his spouse,
Aged and lowly, beggars by their garb,
With frail cracked voices, yet with hearts attuned
To the immortal harmonies of faith,
And hope, and love, in the green wilderness
Praising the Lord their Goda touching sight!
High in the Heavenly House not made with hands,
The archangels sing, angels, and saints in white,
Striking their golden harps before the Throne;
But, in the pauses of the symphony,
A voice comes up from earth, the simple psalm
Of those old beggars, heard by the Ear of God
With more acceptance than hosannahs pealed
Through all the hosts of blissful jubilee.

Her nest is here: But ah! the cunning thing,
See where our White-throat, like the partridge, feigns
A broken wing, thick fluttering o'er the ground,
And tumbling oft, to draw you from her brood
Within the bush. Now that's a lie, my birdie!
Your wing's not broken; but we'll grant you this,
The lie's a white one, white as your own throat.
Yet how should He who is the Truth itself,
And prompts all instinct, plant in you deceit,
And make you act it, even to save your young?
The whole creation groans for Man, for sin,
And death its consequence: We're changed to you
In our relations, birdie; as a part
Of that primeval ill, we rob your nest.
To meet this change perhaps, high Heaven itself
Permitting moral wrong, instinctive guile
Has thus been lent to your instinctive love:
And your deceit is our reflected sin.
The more we wonder at this curious warp
From truth, the more we see the o'erruling law
Of natural love in all things, which will be
A fraud in instinct, rather than a flaw
In care parental. Oh how gracious good,
That all the generations, as they rise,
Of living things, are not sustained by one
Great abstract fiat of Benevolence;
But by a thousand separate forms of love,
All tremblingly alive! The human heart,
With all its conduits, and its channel-pipes,
Warm, flowing, full, quiveringly keen and strong
In all its tendrils and its bloody threads;
The wallowing, belching monsters of the deep,
Down to the filmiest people of the leaf,
Are all God's nurses, and draw out the breast,
Or brood for Him. Oh what a system thus
Of active love, of every shape and kind,
Has been created, from the Heart of Heaven
Extended, multiplied, personified
In living forms throughout the Universe!

In life's first glee, and first untutored grace,
With raven tresses, and with glancing eyes,
How beautiful those children, lustrous dark,
Pulling the kingcups in the flowery meadow!
Born of an Indian mother: She by night,
An orphan damsel on her native hills,
Looked down the Khyber Pass, with pity touched
For the brave strangers who lay slain in heaps,
Low in that fatal fold and pen of death.
Sorrow had taught her mercy: Forth she went
With simple cordials from her lonely cot,
If she might help to save some wounded foe.
By cavern went she, and tall ice-glazed rock,
Casting its spectral shadow on the snow,
Beneath the hard blue moon. Save her own feet
Crushing the starry spangles of the frost,
Sound there was none on all the silent hills;
And silence filled the valley of the dead.
Down went the maid aslant. A cliff's recess
Gave forth a living form. A wounded youth,
One unit relic of that thick battue,
Escaping death, and mastering his deep hurt,
From out the bloody Pass had climbed thus far
The mountain-side, and rested there a while.
The virgin near, up rose he heavily,
Staggered into the light, and stood before her,
Bowing for help. She gave him sweet spiced milk,
And led him to her home, and hid him there
Months, till pursuit was o'er, and he was healed
And from her mountains he could safely go.
But grateful Walter loved the Affghan girl,
And would not go without her: They had taught
Each other language: Will she go with him
To the Isles of the West, and be his wife?
Nor less she loved the fair-haired islander,
And softly answered, Yes. And she is now
His Christian wife, wondering and loving much
In this mild land, honoured and loved by all;
With such a grace of glad humility
She does her duties. And, to crown her joy
Of holy wedded life, her God has given her
Those beauteous children, with the laughing voices,
Pulling the kingcups in the flowery meadow.

Our walk is o'er. But let us see our bees,
Before we turn into our ivied porch.
The little honey-folk, how wise are they!
Their polity, their industry, their work,
The help they take from man, and what they give
Of fragrant nectar, sea-green, clear, and sweet,
Invest them almost with the dignity
Of human neighbourhood, without the intrusion.
Coming and going, what a hum and stir!
The dewy morn they love, the sunny day,
Softened with showery drops, liquoring the flowers
In every vein and eye. But when the heavens
Grow cloudy, and the quick-engendered blasts
Darken and whiten as they skiff along
The mountain-tops, till all the nearer air,
Seized with the gloom, is turbid, dense, and cold,
Back from their far-off foraging the bees,
In myriads, saddened into small black motes,
Strike through the troubled air, sharp past your head,
And almost hitting you, their lines of flight
Converging, thickening as they draw near home;
So much they fear the storms, so much they love
The safety of their straw-built citadels. 



                      Thomas Aird


Thomas Aird's other poems:
  1. Wash The Feet Of Poor Old Age
  2. The Holy Cottage
  3. Song Of Time And Man
  4. The Lyre
  5. Song The Fourth


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Philip Bailey Morning ("She comes! how lovely are her smiles")
  • Thomas Gent Morning ("Light as the breeze that hails the infant morn")
  • Jones Very Morning ("The light will never open sightless eyes")

    Poem to print To Print Poem

    1059 Views



    The Last Poems


  • @Mail.ru

    English Poetry. E-mail eng-poetry.ru@yandex.ru