Francis Turner Palgrave

Past and Present

AS I hear the breath of the mother
To the breath of the child at her feet
Answer in even whispers,
When night falls heavy and sweet,

Sleep puts out silent fingers,
And leads me back to the roar
Of the dead salt sea that vomits
Wrecks of the past ashore.

I see the lost Love in beauty
Go gliding over the main:
I feel the ancient sweetness,
The worm and the wormwood again.

Earth all one tomb lies round me,
Domed with an iron sky:
And God Himself in His power,
God cannot save me! I cry.

With the cry I wake;--and around me
The mother and child at her feet
Breathe peace in even whispers;
And the night falls heavy and sweet.

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