Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1169. A Far Cry to Heaven
By Edith Matilda Thomas
WHAT! dost thou pray that the outgone tide be rolled back on the strand,
The flame be rekindled that mounted away from the smouldering brand,
The past-summer harvest flow golden through stubble-lands snaked and sere,
The winter-gray woods upgather and quicken the leaves of last year?—
Thy prayers are as clouds in a drouth; regardless, unfruitful, they roll;        5
For this, that thou prayest vain things, ’t is a far cry to Heaven, my soul,—
        Oh, a far cry to Heaven!
Thou dreamest the word shall return, shot arrow-like into the air,
The wound in the breast where it lodged be balmed and closed for thy prayer,
The ear of the dead be unsealed, till thou whisper a boon once denied,        10
The white hour of life be restored, that passed thee unprized, undescribed!—
Thy prayers are as runners that faint, that fail, within sight of the goal,
For this, that thou prayest fond things, ’t is a far cry to Heaven, my soul,—
        Oh, a far cry to Heaven!
And cravest thou fondly the quivering sands shall be firm to thy feet,        15
The brackish pool of the waste to thy lips be made wholesome and sweet?
And cravest thou subtly the bane thou desirest be wrought to thy good,
As forth from a poisonous flower a bee conveyeth safe food?
For this, that thou prayest ill things, thy prayers are an anger-rent scroll;
The chamber of audit is closed,—’t is a far cry to Heaven, my soul,—        20
        Oh, a far cry to Heaven!


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