Verse > Robert Graves > Fairies and Fusiliers
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Robert Graves (1895–1985).  Fairies and Fusiliers.  1918.
 
43. In the Wilderness
 
 
CHRIST of His gentleness
Thirsting and hungering,
Walked in the wilderness;
Soft words of grace He spoke
Unto lost desert-folk        5
That listened wondering.
He heard the bitterns call
From ruined palace-wall,
Answered them brotherly.
He held communion        10
With the she-pelican
Of lonely piety.
Basilisk, cockatrice,
Flocked to his homilies,
With mail of dread device,        15
With monstrous barbéd slings,
With eager dragon-eyes;
Great rats on leather wings
And poor blind broken things,
Foul in their miseries.        20
And ever with Him went,
Of all His wanderings
Comrade, with ragged coat,
Gaunt ribs—poor innocent—
Bleeding foot, burning throat,        25
The guileless old scapegoat;
For forty nights and days
Followed in Jesus’ ways,
Sure guard behind Him kept,
Tears like a lover wept.        30
 

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