Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 284. The Mystery of Light
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
284. The Mystery of Light
By Walter Leslie Wilmshurst  (b. 1866)
SOULS there be to whom ’tis given
  Easily to enter heaven;
Scarce an effort on their part,
Without struggle, prayer, or art;
Sometimes utterly unknowing        5
Why such glory should be showing;
Wondering what the reason is
Of the inflaming ecstasies
That Christ giveth unto His.
Often they, not understanding,       10
Catch a rarer light expanding;
Doing but their daily task,
Falls away some filmy mask,
And before their eyes extended
Heaven with earth is interblended;       15
And beyond this outward strife
They see what hidden peace is rife
In God’s great reservoirs of life.
Some in that rapt state elysian
Are accorded richer vision;       20
Watch the thronging angels pass
To a high celestial Mass;
See a veilèd, flaming Centre,
See a Great High Priest there enter,
Whence a Host he lifteth up       25
And a crimson-brimming Cup,
Which He bids all eat and sup.
Or a day falls, past relating,
When a Dove, divinely mating,
Stirs the sheltering leaves apart       30
O’er some deeply-nested heart;
And, Himself within interning,
Lo! the very bush is burning
With the blazonry of love
Of that far-descended Dove       35
In His bridal-mate’s alcove.
Such things simple souls and holy
Often know, whilst men less lowly
Beat the breast and bend the brain
In their labour to attain;       40
Till from heaven, tired of crying,
They will turn, all heaven denying;
Seeking ways of lesser bliss
Which, in His large Mysteries,
Christ denieth not to His.       45
Let not me, who have no mission
Yet to see the shining Vision,
E’er forget that night and day
Are His strange vicarious way;
He by one prepares the other,       50
Glooming me to light my brother.
May I ever blinded be
If my disability
Help my fellow-man to see.
In this night of my unknowing       55
His symbol-light shall be my showing.
I’ll know that at the rise of sun
High Mass, for all, in heaven’s begun;
That when at noon-tide height it lingers
Christ lifts the Host in His pierc’d fingers;       60
And at its setting it shall tell
How He descendeth, loving well,
Even to me, His child in hell.



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