Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
Religious Poems
THROUGH Thy clear spaces, Lord, of old,
Formless and void the dead earth rolled;
Deaf to Thy heaven’s sweet music, blind
To the great lights which o’er it shined;
No sound, no ray, no warmth, no breath,—        5
A dumb despair, a wandering death.
To that dark, weltering horror came
Thy spirit, like a subtle flame,—
A breath of life electrical,
Awakening and transforming all,        10
Till beat and thrilled in every part
The pulses of a living heart.
Then knew their bounds the land and sea;
Then smiled the bloom of mead and tree;
From flower to moth, from beast to man,        15
The quick creative impulse ran;
And earth, with life from thee renewed,
Was in thy holy eyesight good.
As lost and void, as dark and cold
And formless as that earth of old;        20
A wandering waste of storm and night,
Midst spheres of song and realms of light;
A blot upon thy holy sky,
Untouched, unwarmed of thee, am I.
O Thou who movest on the deep        25
Of spirits, wake my own from sleep!
Its darkness melt, its coldness warm,
The lost restore, the ill transform,
That flower and fruit henceforth may be
Its grateful offering, worthy Thee.


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