Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 337. From ‘The Everlasting Mercy’
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
337. From ‘The Everlasting Mercy’
By John Masefield
I DID not think, I did not strive,
The deep peace burnt my me alive;
The bolted door had broken in,
I knew that I had done with sin.
I knew that Christ had given me birth        5
To brother all the souls on earth,
And every bird and every beast
Should share the crumbs broke at the feast.
O glory of the lighted mind.
How dead I’d been, how dumb, how blind.       10
The station brook, to my new eyes,
Was babbling out of Paradise,
The waters rushing from the rain
Were singing Christ has risen again.
I thought all earthly creatures knelt       15
From rapture of the joy I felt.
The narrow station-wall’s brick ledge,
The wild hop withering in the hedge,
The lights in huntsman’s upper story
Were parts of an eternal glory,       20
Were God’s eternal garden flowers.
I stood in bliss at this for hours.
O glory of the lighted soul.
The dawn came up on Bradlow Knoll,
The dawn with glittering on the grasses,       25
The dawn which pass and never passes.
‘It’s dawn,’ I said, ‘And chimney’s smoking,
And all the blessed fields are soaking.
It’s dawn, and there’s an engine shunting;
And hounds, for huntsman’s going hunting.       30
It’s dawn, and I must wander north
Along the road Christ led me forth.’…
O wet red swathe of earth laid bare,
O truth, O strength, O gleaming share,
O patient eyes that watch the goal,       35
O ploughman of the sinner’s soul.
O Jesus, drive the coulter deep
To plough my living man from sleep.
Slow up the hill the plough team plod,
Old Callow at the task of God,       40
Helped by man’s wit, helped by the brute
Turning a stubborn clay to fruit,
Hid eyes for ever on some sign
To help him plough a perfect line.
At top of rise the plough team stopped,       45
The fore-horse bent his head and cropped;
Then the chains chack, the brasses jingle,
The lean reins gather through the cringle,
The figures move against the sky,
The clay wave breaks as they go by.       50
I kneeled there in the muddy fallow,
I knew that Christ was there with Callow,
That Christ was standing there with me,
That Christ had taught me what to be,
That I should plough, and as I ploughed       55
My Saviour Christ would sing aloud,
And as I drove the clods apart
Christ would be ploughing in my heart,
Through rest-harrow and bitter roots,
Through all my bad life’s rotten fruits.       60
O Christ who holds the open gate,
O Christ who drives the furrow straight,
O Christ, the plough, O Christ, the laughter
Of holy white birds flying after,
Lo, all my heart’s field red and torn,       65
And Thou wilt bring the young green corn,
The young green corn divinely springing,
The young green corn forever singing;
And when the field is fresh and fair
Thy blessèd feet shall glitter there,       70
And we will walk the weeded field,
And tell the golden harvest’s yield,
The corn that makes the holy bread
By which the soul of man is fed,
The holy bread, the food unpriced,       75
Thy everlasting mercy, Christ.



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