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Ina Donna Coolbrith (Ина Донна Кулбрит)

The Day of Our Lord

THE chime of many bells upon the air
Calling to halls of prayer,
And, from the street,
A child's laugh, shrill and sweet,
Break in upon my silence, and the thought
The day has brought.

Christ's Day! The sacred morn
Whereon, long centuries past, the Lord was born.
With the deep-toning bells,
The organs' sinks and swells,
The churches' pageantry,
The song, the feasting and festivity —
How many think of Thee?
Of Thee, and this Thy day,
And all the solemn story which it tells?

Do I? I look within
On mine own sin;
I do not need to gaze without, to find
The mote that makes another's vision blind,
Or seek along strange ways
For burdens that make weary all the days.
I know Whose willing breast
Would bear my load;
I know Whose clasp, most blest,
Would lead the feet that stumble on the road;
I know His sure abode, —
And hear, unceasingly,
The call, "Come unto me,
And I will give you rest!"

We know . . . and answer not!
The fiercest fights are fought,
Not between nations, nor 'twixt race and race,
But in the human soul's still, secret space.
The pride that yields not unto foe or friend;
The stubborn will that breaks not, nor will bend;
The vengeful thought where falsehood's cruel wrong
And serpent-fanged ingratitude have stung;
The base ambition that would self exalt
Upon another's effort; envy, strife,
The cowardice that dares not own the fault;
The vampire, hate, that drains the veins of life, —
Of these the forces which the soul engage
To hold it from its holy heritage:
Of these the foes, whose multitudes appall,
That it must meet, to fell them or to fall.

How hard it seems! How simple it all is!
And oh, the priceless worth!
It reckons not of worldly power or pelf,
Nor of earth-praise the meed.
The all in all in this
His simple creed:
"Love thou thy God; thy neighbor as thyself;
Forgive, as thou dost hope to be forgiven!"
And lo! we have sweet Heaven
About us on the earth.

It is Thy day, dear Lord,
Help me remember it.
Help me to live Thy word,
So living, honor it.
Help me to thrust away
My cruel foes, to-day,
Forever and for aye.
It is Thy day, dear Lord,
It is Thy Day!

Ina Donna Coolbrith's other poems:
  1. At Anchor
  2. Siesta
  3. The Captive of the White City
  4. Memorial Poem
  5. Alcatraz

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