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Poem by Thomas MacDonagh

A Dream of Hell

Last night I dreamt I was in hell;
In waking dread I dream it yet;
I feel the gloom, my brow is wet;
My soul is prisoner of the spell.

Hell, gloomy, still, -- no fire, no cry.
Flames were a joy and shrieks delight.
And sounds of woe and painful light
Were bliss to gloom without a sigh.

I dreamt that moments passed like years
In dumb blind darkness whelmed and drowned,
In silence of a single sound,
In grief eternal void of tears.

A single sound I heard all night
Pulse through the stillness like a sob:
I heard the weary changeless throb
Of dead damned hearts the silence smite.

No change, no end; no end, no change--
As in a death house when the door
Is closed, and to return no more
One form is gone, when stillness strange

Creeps in and in one dim room stays,
The widow, who with sleepless eyes
Has watched long, hears with dull surprise
A ticking she has heard for days,

So heard I myriad heart-beats blend
Into one mighty changeless knell,
The throb-song of the silent hell:
No end, no change; no change no end.

In silence, solitude and gloom,
With working brain and throbbing heart,
Remembering things that cannot start
To life again out of the tomb,

Remembering, ruining, day by day,
And year by year, and age by age,
In sorrow without tear or rage
Watching the moments pass away,

I found thee -- of all mortals thee!--
Buried in hell for endless time,
Buried in hell for unknown crime,
Who ever wert a saint to me.

I found thee there -- I know not how--
And thou wilt never know that I,
Thy pitying friend of earth, was nigh--
My pity ne'er can reach thee now. 

Thomas MacDonagh

Thomas MacDonagh's other poems:
  1. The Song of Joy
  2. Averil
  3. In Dread
  4. The Poet Saint
  5. The Seasons and the Leaves

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